Kona’s $4M Seed Funding to Help Remote Teams Become ‘People-First’

Kona, an employee experience platform for remote teams, closed a $4 million seed funding round last week led by Unusual Ventures with participation from Evolutionary Ventures, the venture arm of Silicon Valley executive coaching company Evolution, 2.12 Angels, Louis Beryl, David Carrico, James Beshara, Amazon exec Jeff Wilke, and more.

As companies adapt to changes in cultural attitudes toward remote work, to the era of The Great Resignation, and to encompass more generations in the workplace, customers including Oyster, Buffer, Aircall, GoodRx, TeamSnap, Veriff and many more use Kona to improve wellbeing and get real-time alerts related to culture and employee mental health.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, 75 percent of U.S. workers experienced burnout, and companies lost $300 billion in 2020 due to productivity loss and burnout-related attrition. The tech industry – where the workload demands increased during COVID – suffered, as resignation rates reached nearly 5 percent according to Harvard Business Review.

The most pressing challenge companies face in adapting to the global crisis is no longer maintaining business-as-usual but establishing a remote culture and long-term remote wellness of employees. This responsibility falls on managers, nearly 40 percent of whom had no managerial experience prior to the shift to remote work. Today’s managers now are stewards of trust and mental health, while meeting the expectations of Millennial and Gen Z workers who expect empathy from leadership as table stakes.

Kona helps managers develop people-first leadership skills, enabling them to create daily habits to make trust and stay on top of mental health. The first Kona habit is sharing how you feel at work.

Managers use Kona to conduct daily emotional check-ins in Slack, allowing them to identify and mitigate instances of burnout. Kona coaches managers on how to support team members in key moments of stress and work-related frustration. With Kona, companies gain nuanced, real-time data and analytics about why burnout trends occur, which can be used to build culture, to take action to prevent attrition, and create a psychologically safe team environment.

Last year, Kona published The Remote Manager Report, an investigation of the relationship between worker productivity and management and team burnout, finding the best-performing companies created a culture of wellness from the ground up. In addition, Kona has established industry best practices for remote culture with thought leadership content being featured on GitLab’s handbook, Forbes, TechCrunch Sessions, Fortune, Entrepreneur, and several other major platforms.

For more information, visit heykona.com.

Pictured from left to right: Andrew Zhou, co-founder; Sid Pandiya, co-founder & CEO; Corine Tan, co-founder