Ask any founder and they will tell you how important it is for a startup to have a strong team. If your team’s dynamics are not there yet, worry not! Know Your Crew can save the day. The platform improves your team’s dynamics with questions that prompt team members to share about their habits and preferences in the workplace. The company employs real strategies and is anti the ‘go around the room and say your name and favorite ice cream flavor’ exercise. The startup takes a fun analytical approach to dealing with an issue that can make or break companies.
AlleyWatch spoke with CEO and cofounder Alison Bloom-Feshbach about the growing company and the experience of being a woman founder in NYC.
Tell us about the product or service
Know Your Crew is a software platform that measures and improves team dynamics. We are like an executive coach for the team – at a fraction of the cost.
Our platform includes a gamified, question-based mobile app that builds team trust and awareness, and a web portal that uses machine-learning analytics to track team health. Teams engage with the mobile tool for a few minutes each week, answering curated questions, and earning points for how well they know each other. App data is translated into digestible insights with analytics measuring team connectivity, happiness, and alignment. It’s fast and fun for teams to use, and managers can easily identify problem areas and quick wins.
How is it different?
There is no software solution focused on team dynamics. Traditional team-building solutions like offsites and happy hours don’t integrate into the workday, and rarely deliver sustained impact over time. Know Your Crew is scalable, inclusive of remote workers, and delivers ongoing impact.
Know Your Crew is different from engagement survey software, because we focus exclusively on the team, and do more than just diagnose problems: we are an intervention that builds trust and team connectivity!
Unlike other HR software, Know Your Crew is gamified and social, and teams actually enjoy using our product: customers report a consumer-like experience that is fun and engaging.
Know Your Crew is also unique in our approach to data collection, as our analytics integrate qualitative and quantitative data to deliver rich, nuanced insights as well as high level measurement.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
Our market includes the entire universe of team-based organizations, from small and medium businesses to large enterprises, and inclusive of educational institutions. Buyers are attracted to Know Your Crew with two primary objectives in mind: (1) improving employee engagement (and increasing retention) and/or (2) improving team performance (and increasing revenue). To estimate the size of the total addressable market, we analyzed total annual spend on improving engagement and team performance – approximately $90 billion.
What is the business model?
Know Your Crew is a SaaS business. We charge a per user monthly fee for access to the core platform (app and web), with additional pricing for customized question content and analytics. Our target buyers are both heads of HR and team leaders.
What inspired the business?
My co-founder Marie and I met as teammates at What If Innovation – where we had the pleasure of being on an amazing team – connected, efficient, creative – and the pain of being on a less than amazing team – misaligned, lacking trust, stressful. We experienced firsthand the impact of team dynamics as an influencer of our own engagement at work and team performance.
We realized that team dynamics are often left to chance, as managers lack the time and resources to help their teams develop the soft skills like trust, empathy, and self-awareness that are fundamental to healthy teamwork. With more diverse teams and increased remote working, it is getting harder for teams to connect and align. And not every team can afford an executive coach.
We knew the solution had to integrate seamlessly into the workday – and be mobile. Know Your Crew was born!
What’s it like to be a female founder building a business in NYC? What resources have you found most helpful?
We think NYC is a great place to be a female founder. Other NYC-based female founders – like our friends at Lola and AptDeco – are sources of advice and inspiration. Our advisor – Lynn Polakoff Baine – is a trusted mentor and an amazing resource for connections to investors and business development opportunities. We have found our personal networks – and warm introductions made via these relationships – to be the most helpful resources in building Know Your Crew.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Sales is our primary focus for the next 6 months, as we grow our enterprise customer base and generate revenue. We aim to release a major product enhancement to integrate personality analytics and ‘smart’ tips into the Know Your Crew platform, supported by our content partnership with leading personality assessment company Hogan. We are also raising a priced seed round in Q1 to expand our team and fuel our growth.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
As co-founders, our energy, focus, and stamina are our most precious resources in growing our business. I never got the advice that managing our team’s ‘state’ would be so critical. Fortunately, in addition to being a team dynamics company, we are passionate about personality, workplace relationships, and deconstructing what makes us tick. Our founding team devotes time to identifying what accelerates and hinders our energy and focus – both as a duo and individually. Active awareness and management of our team ‘state’ has been and will be key to our success.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
We would be thrilled to connect with Daniel Chait, CEO and founder of the hiring software company Greenhouse. We admire the business that Daniel has built, and we take inspiration from how Greenhouse makes a core HR function seamless, user-friendly, and data-driven. We would be excited to pick Daniel’s brain on growing an HR tech business in NYC– from reaching the right buyers to demonstrating ROI. We know Daniel cares about talent as much as we do at, and would love to get his advice on Know Your Crew!
Why did you launch in New York?
New York is our home – as well as the epicenter of our networks. It is the ideal place for us to build our team, develop channel partnerships, and grow our business. Unlike in Silicon Valley, female founders (and investors) have shaped the tech landscape in New York from its inception. The HR tech ecosystem in New York is strong – with companies like Justworks, the Muse, and Namely headquartered here, along with thought leaders envisioning the workplace experience of the future. New York City is also overflowing with creative ‘stimulus’ that inspires us on a daily basis and fuels our entrepreneurial journey.
What’s your favorite rooftop bar in NYC to unwind?
Juliette! Close by, good crowd, and not too hectic.