Polywork gets $3.5M to blend professional and social networking



Life is complicated and so — increasingly — is work-life. That’s the premise underpinning Polywork, a new professional social network founded by Lystable/Kalo founder, Peter Johnson.

It’s announcing a $3.5 million seed round today, led by by Caffeinated Capital’s Ray Tonsing (who it notes was the first investor in Clubhouse, Airtable and Brex), with participation from the founders of YouTube (Steve Chen), Twitch (Kevin Lin), PayPal (Max Levchin), VSCO (Joel Flory), Behance (Scott Belsky), and Worklife VC (Brianne Kimmel) — to name a few of its long list of angels.

As the list illustrates, Johnson, an ex-Googler (and TC battlefield alum), isn’t short of contacts to tap up for his new startup — having pulled so much VC into Lystable/Kalo.

Albeit we’ve also learned that his earlier startup, which was focused on tools to help companies manage freelancers and gig workers, is no longer active. Kalo/Lystable has hit the deadpool.

We’re told the founders took the decision to pull the plug after being unable to convince investors to keep supporting the business — which had, presumably, been severely impacted by the pandemic as companies laid off freelancers.

Although, in parallel, VC investment has been flowing into startups building marketplaces to help companies work with external talent (as the remote work boom is clearly driving more flexible ways of working) so it’s not clear where exactly Kalo went wrong — perhaps its focus on management tools was simply being overtaken by more fully featured marketplaces which are baking in (Read more...)