I’m thrilled to announce that USVP recently led the first external investment in a fast-growing SaaS business called Rimeto. Rimeto makes it easy for enterprise knowledge workers to understand their colleagues and collaborate.
Today, enterprise employees are in a challenging position — companies increasingly expect their people to work seamlessly with colleagues across functions and offices. However, increasing turnover and geographically-distributed teams have made it harder than ever for employees to understand their colleagues and navigate their organizations.
To solve this problem, the Rimeto team reinvented the enterprise directory to give knowledge workers the context they need to work productively together in the modern workplace. They’ve turned what were historically static employee listings into a dynamic system that connects employees across teams and locations, and unlocks businesses’ collective experience, skills, and relationships.
When I first learned about Rimeto, I immediately recognized the value because I had experienced the problem it solves early in my career, when I was a software engineer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. In my view, LLNL’s greatest asset was its people — some of the best scientists, engineers, project managers and administrators in the world — however, with thousands of staff members across multiple divisions, “who’s who” was a very hard question to answer. One of my first engineering projects at LLNL was developing an internal directory to help people across the organization find and understand each other.
Fast forward more than twenty years, and this same challenge persists across industries. Employees at multi-thousand-person organizations still struggle to understand their colleagues. Some leading tech companies have recognized this challenge and have invested to build directory solutions internally; for example, Apple, Google, Uber, and Airbnb. Stripe’s post about their internal directory reflects recent thinking in this direction. These tech companies recognize that an advanced directory is a foundational system for a productive, collaborative knowledge workforce. These places provide a glimpse into the future and a model for other high performance organizations across industries.
Of course, it makes no more sense for companies to invest their resources to build and maintain second-rate internal directories than it does for them to build their own videoconferencing or chat technology. Smart IT teams don’t want to build things from scratch when better options are available.
Plus, the directory I helped build long ago and the internally-developed systems at other organizations only scratch the surface of employees’ need for people information. The opportunity to provide more insight is vast — whether by integrating multiple systems, applying AI to generate insight, or fostering internal mobility. Imagine having the knowledge and relationships of all your colleagues at your fingertips. That’s the superpower RImeto promises to unlock.
It’s not enough anymore to be able to find a colleague’s contact info. Or to force people to wander across three siloed enterprise systems to cobble together information about one another. Instead, people should be able to find expertise, teams, projects, customer affiliation, and any other people-centric information in a single, consumer-grade interface.
Rimeto has a rare opportunity to reinvent an entire category of software. Before Zoom, people thought enterprise videoconferencing was solved. Before Slack, people felt the same way about enterprise chat (another category reinvention that USVP participated in via our early-stage investment in Yammer). Today, Rimeto is reinventing directory the same way: with a user centric approach and best-in-class, modern, flexible platform. I’ve been impressed by how Rimeto has rapidly built an impressive customer list centered on Fortune 500 companies. Customers I’ve interviewed rave about their experience with Rimeto’s product — not just because it delivers value in the opinion of the C-suite executives, but also because employees simply love to use Rimeto.
Last but not least, the most important element of any USVP investment is the team. Rimeto’s team is extremely impressive. I’ve known Ted Zagat for 17 years. When we first met, Ted was leading the Zagat guide business, which was subsequently sold to Google. Ted and co-founders Neville Bowers and Maxwell Hayman held senior positions at Facebook, where they delivered web and mobile software that is part of the daily lives of billions of people. These founders are software experts who saw an opportunity to apply their people-centric approach to the enterprise. Given their experience working together and their fast progress at Rimeto, it was clear that these founders were not just great friends, but also great partners.
I admire the Rimeto founders for self-funding the business prior to our investment. This is more and more unusual, especially in a seed-stage funding environment awash in capital. They built the product in the Bay Area and acquired numerous happy, brand-name customers before raising any outside capital.
I couldn’t be more excited for Rimeto to improve how people information is accessed in the workplace. This company is a big deal and we are thrilled that the founders chose USVP as a partner.