Peter Johnston’s Polywork has completed an A round of financing that attracted the attention of big names from Silicon Valley.
A social network that is focused on business Polywork was founded by Peter Johnston, who was originally from Carrickfergus The company has completed a $13 million Series A round that was led by Andreessen Horowitz (A16z).
A16z was joined by a stellar list of investors that included Stripe co-founders John and Patrick Collison; Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger; Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian; Product Hunt co-founder Ryan Hoover; and GitHub CEO Nat Friedman.
Current investors Goldcrest Capital and Caffeinated Capital returned, as did Bungalow Capital, and 20VC were among those who participated.
Polywork’s attraction lies in its founder, Johnston, a Google alum who founded freelancer-management software outfit Kalo (formerly Lystable) in 2015. The company has graduated from Techstars located in the UK and received a number of investments in the form of Valar Ventures and built its client base, which comprises Google, Airbnb, and The Economist. However, during the outbreak, Kalo struggled, and Johnston decided to close the company.
Polywork began its beta testing in the month of April and was able to raise the $3.5 million seed round that was held in May. Early users and observers are describing it as a hybrid that is a combination of LinkedIn and Twitter, and Johnston has stated his intention to compete with the Microsoft-owned professional network.
When speaking to Sifted, the company’s founder stated: “Our pitch to investors was basically redefining the things that LinkedIn does. What is the use of an online CV that lists your skills? It’s not really about the skills you possess, however; it’s about the actual use you make of the skills you have.
“Job titles and education are often used to identify who you are, but they are poor indicators of who you are and what you care about.”
Johnston has stated repeatedly in blogs and interview interviews that people have “more than the labels society has placed upon them, such as job titles.” He also said that he believes Polywork will be able to blend professional and personal in a way that other social networks aren’t able to. Users will get a feed similar to Twitter, which allows them to update their followers on their most recent projects. Their talents and interests can be displayed as badges or tags on their personal profiles. They can tag their posts, making it possible to filter the feed of a user by their area of expertise or interests.
Sriram Krishnan from A16z will join A16z’s Polywork board following the investment.
“We first came across Polywork at the beginning of the year and then soon began seeing prominent personalities on the internet using Polywork to tell their stories. If you are hearing buzz from communities online that span music, fashion, technology, and so on and you pay attention, it quickly becomes apparent the reason Polywork was drawing all the imaginations. “
“Along with being a gorgeous product, Polywork was designed to reflect the multifaceted nature of what we do as people.”