Prior to going into VC, I co-founded a company that I ran as CEO for 7 years before getting acquired in 2008. Like the majority of startups, over the years, we underwent many changes. The product went from content to software to a mix of both; the team went from 3 to 150 people, business grew from zero to €25M in ARR, and the business model expanded from B2B only to also include B2C. The path was not linear — we upsized, downsized, and upsized again — and through all these evolutions, the company constantly needed to change its structure. The leadership team and I spent hours and hours shaping the best organizational design for our teams. At the time, the tools available were Excel, PowerPoint and SharePoint stitched together by midnight meetings, pizza, and coffee — all in order to collaboratively figure out who should do what, which team was in charge, and so on. It was fun but draining on both time and resources.
Imagine my surprise when 15 years later, I discovered that nothing had changed. Founders and leadership teams for their re-org are now using Miro instead of PowerPoint and Google Sheets instead of Excel, but no purpose-built software exists to solve what might be the most important problem of a knowledge business: team org design.
Founded by three tech veterans from companies such as Hotjar, Spendesk, and Glovo, Ourspace offers a collaborative and scalable software for senior team leaders to make smarter, faster decisions about their people and functions. In full support of this mission, we’re thrilled to have led Ourspace’s $2.5M pre-seed funding round.
How we crossed paths
I was on one of my desperate jogs in the middle of lockdown, listening to a podcast about product and design from Product School.
Megan Murphy, then VP Product at Hotjar, was the guest, and her insight, elegance of thinking, clarity, and determination really stood out to me.
I reached out. We love getting to know the best product people in Europe — sooner or later, they’re bound to launch a company, and it’s my life’s work to help them achieve that (if you are one of them, please reach out here)
We had a few chats, and I eventually mentored Megan through the transition from operator to founder.
Candidly, I would have backed her personally, no matter what she started. So imagine my excitement when she told me she was venturing right into my wheelhouse: B2B, SaaS, Future of work, and people-tech. Imagine my delight when she shared her obsession with solving the team design problem she’d so often felt (and which I’d felt too).
When she asked if I thought it was a big enough idea for venture-scale impact, I thought I wasn’t able to size it but that I’ve learned that sizing a non-existing category can be very tricky and the best investors I worked with like Peter Fenton don’t obsess on it.
Here was an unsolved problem that affects every company that scales, a product-centric founder with 100% empathy and an opportunity to build a product many people love. I replied, go for it, all in!
With lightning speed, Megan quit her job, recruited two stellar co-founders in Stephanie Bowker (former VP Marketing at Spendesk) and Mark Allen (former Sr Engineering Manager at Glovo), built the initial team and MVP, and attracted design partners and high-profile initial customers.