Over the years, the method for delivering and managing employee feedback hasn’t really changed despite dramatic changes in the workplace. Most firms still use performance appraisals that are usually done only on an annual basis, with firms and employees flying blind for the majority of the year. Also, the current system may cause employees to be reluctant to be honest and transparent as in a situation where they need to provide feedback to a superior. Howamigoing modernizes the entire employee feedback paradigm with its best-in-class technology solution. Launched in 2018, the company fosters year-round development through its unique set of features that incorporate multiple check-ins, actionable goal setting, and timely surveys. This London startup has built an innovative pathway for direct communication between superiors, employees, and colleagues through its SaaS platform.
London TechWatch spoke with CEO and founder Julian Cook to learn about the company, its future plans, and its recent funding round.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Howamigoing raised a seed round of £890K, bringing our total funding in the last 15 months to £1.1M.
The fundraise was led by angel investors Chris Hadley (founder, Quadrant Capital) and Richard Elmslie (CEO, Rare Infrastructure). Existing investors Andrew McGill (professional director, co-founder Crescent Capital), Alister Jordan (CEO of Coles Express, Chief of Staff to former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd) and Jason Weeks (CEO of Vendorable.com) also participated in the round.
Howamigoing launched an innovative platform in 2018 that allows employees to transparently and confidently manage their year-round feedback and performance plans.
Our platform utilises slick UX and UI alongside a novel way for conducting 360-degree feedback, check-ins, goal setting, and pulse surveys.
What inspired you to start Howamigoing?
During my time at J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and Gresham Partners, I was astounded by how outdated the employee performance management processes were at organisations so focused on high performance.
I realised that this was actually a global problem, not just confined to financial services.
What are the biggest challenges employers and employees face when it comes to performance reviews?
For both employers and employees, the biggest challenge is that they seldom deliver value.
How is Howamigoing different?
There have been so many advancements in technology and social psychology over the past 15 years that aren’t being utilised by companies. So we’re using technology + design + psychology to break down the communication barriers preventing colleagues from gathering ongoing guidance from each other.
We know that employee appraisals don’t drive individual performance, we know that stack-ranking employees destroys teamwork, we know that combining pay with feedback skews feedback, and we know that most people don’t give honest feedback to their superiors when they can’t do so anonymously.
What market is Howamigoing targeting and how big is it?
This year we’re focused on working with growing companies across the UK, US, HK and Australia that have between 25-250 employees. It’s a massive market when you think about how many companies there are in this bracket, that around 30% don’t have a formal feedback process and of those that do, around 70% don’t use any software to aggregate employee feedback.
What’s your business model?
We have three plans for clients:
Starter: Flat £500 annual fee for up to 25 users, giving access to 360 feedback and check-ins
Standard: £100 per employee per year, unlimited users and access to goal setting, pulse surveys, and customer success.
What was the funding process like?
Time consuming, exciting, exhausting!
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Continuing to run and grow the business. We had a small team before the raise, which meant I was doing lots of things, which meant I dropped the ball on a few workstreams.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
While I can’t say for sure exactly what the final factors were, I believe they were:
- Massive global market
- Unique product + service solution
- Good traction today in several countries
- Solid team
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We made some strategic client signings across the US, UK, HK and Australia in H2 2018. We’d like to use the capital to leverage these market entries/ hubs and 4x our client base by the end of 2019.
What advice can you offer companies in London that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Just get to the next traction point, then get lots of feedback from more experienced people that you trust.
What is your favorite restaurant in London?
Probably Sushi Samba, few places match a great view with great food!