StatusToday, a London startup that is building out AI tech that it claims can help companies better understand their employees and in turn improve productivity, is disclosing $3.91 million in seed investment. The round is led by LocalGlobe, with participation from Notion Capital and Firstminute capital.
Founded in 2015 after graduating from company builder Entrepreneur First, StatusToday originally set out to use AI for cyber security, specifically by analysing a company’s internal online comms and other network activity to spot rogue employees or human lapses in security. However, the nascent company has since broadened out its offering, which launched in beta in the middle of last year, to be a more comprehensive employee insights service powered by AI.
Based on the premise that “most companies and managers do not understand their employees,” StatusToday currently plugs into various online company tools, such as those from Microsoft or Google. It then uses meta-data pulled in from these systems and artificial intelligence to analyse employee actions, thus enabling companies to gain better visibility of how their workforce is operating and to make improvements accordingly.
“Our mission is to help employers and employees understand each other. Most managers do not understand their employees,” StatusToday co-founder and CEO Ankur Modi tells me. “They don’t know what makes them inefficient, when they make mistakes or what incentivizes them. This causes a severe loss of productivity, mismanagement and an increase in risks, such as misconduct, regulatory failures and so on. We want to solve that problem by helping companies better understand their employees using artificial intelligence and data. By analyzing employee activity, we are able to determine when employees are more productive, identify looming risks and help companies to plan more effectively”.
In addition, Modi claims that StatusToday adds transparency for employees, too, by redefining the meaning of work in a way that is “transparent, rather than hierarchical and subjective”. “In time we should be able to use data to shed light on issues such as workplace discrimination and bullying,” he says.
When you plug Microsoft 365 or Google Gsuite into StatusToday, the service creates connectors to map out comms, content and activity on a real-time basis for all future events. This allows StatusToday to collect metadata and audit information for all essential activity performed by any employee in the system.
“Due to the nature and source of this data, we are able to create a company graph that consolidates baseline activity, times, locations for groups without getting actual contents or confidential info,” explains Modi.
Behind the scenes, StatusToday is currently running 22 AI modules (multiple patent-pending) that crunch this activity and create behavior models that adapt in real time to the individual, company and any relevant groups (e.g. roles, departments, managers or the London office). “This allows us to measure normal and abnormal hours, influence, mistakes and areas of low visibility,” says the StatusToday CEO.
Asked how this might be useful in practice, Modi cites a recent example of how one manager using the platform discovered the real volume of weekend work going on in his company, which far exceeded his pre-conceived expectations of work-life balance. Other recent reports generated by StatusToday include “out of band use of cloud storage”, impersonation of senior management, benchmarking contractor performance, and dedicated views for newcomers and leavers.
Meanwhile, StatusToday says the new investment will be used to attract more companies to the service, further improve the AI and expand the multinational team. The company currently has 14 employees, based in London and the Ukraine.
Customers are typically in regulated industries, sectors with high value employees or high employee turnover, “or are simply companies that want to use cutting edge technology to be more agile”. The basic service is free and open to companies of any size. However, StatusToday expects to charge for additional services in future.
Adds Modi: “The true value comes with scale because we will be able to offer valuable industry insights as a premium feature to employees and employers. Down the line we will have services that help companies take action based on our insights which will also be charged for. Needless to say, this gives us the ability to create industry-level benchmarks. We will be able to replicate what market analysts and research firms have done for decades but with real-time data and analytics. That kind of insight can change whole industries and those will generate revenue in future”.