Better Collectively: Why we Invested in Anthill

  • February 2, 2021
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Every ant knows the formula of its ant-hill, every bee knows the formula of its beehive. They know it in their own way, not in our way. Only humankind does not know its own formula.

– Fyodor Dostoevsky

As investors who are obsessed with the Future of Work, Origin Ventures has invested in its fair share of companies that are revolutionizing the workforce. For the vast majority of VCs, this translates into investments in the white collar workforce. Some of our investments, like 15Five (continuous performance management) or Blueboard (experiential rewards and recognition) fall into this camp. More recently though, with investments like Pronto (deskless communications) and Everee (flexible pay), Origin Ventures has begun to focus on the more than half the economy that does not sit behind a desk. Anthill is the next of these investments, and we’re proud to lead the Techstars’ company’s $1.2M seed round.

Companies spend billions every year recruiting, hiring, and training their blue collar workforces only to have turnover cost them exponentially more. They’ll employ weekly surveys asking about current levels of happiness without any intrinsic understanding of what drives those employees at a fundamental level and how to best utilize that worker. They will hire consultants and spend billions more doing “skills gap assessments” in a desperate attempt to fill in their lack of understanding about their workforce and the needs of the company. Yet the average turnover in these companies is over 25%, with some companies having turnover of 80% or more. The costs in time, money, and personal/professional development is staggering: over $1T/year according to Gallup.

At the upper echelon of management, tools like executive coaches, workstyle assessments, training seminars, mentorships programs, 360 degree reviews, and many software solutions can be deployed to help retain and promote the best and brightest. But what about for the part of the workforce that is not behind a desk, where a 90 question Meyers Briggs survey would be impossible to complete? Where management lacks a fundamental understanding of what skills their companies even have across thousands of employees – let alone what skills they do not possess but desperately need? And where turnover is almost crippling? The existing tools are designed for a different part of the workforce and can’t scale for the blue-collar segment of the market.

Anthill addresses all of these challenges by being the world’s first truly scalable talent mapping software. Thanks to the PhD backgrounds of founders Muriel and Young Jae, the company utilizes machine learning, people science, and years of historical data to understand people using a small number of questions. Answering these questions is both a fun and rewarding experience for employees. The insights derived help the employee to grow, their manager to better understand them, and the company to reduce turnover and better utilize its resources. Modern, 21st century people-minded organizations focus on employee engagement, reskilling and development, and internal mobility – Anthill delivers across all three.

Like the Dostoevsky quote says, humans don’t really know or own a formula, but thanks to Anthill, companies can finally start to know it in their own way.

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