Zurich-based employee communication platform Beekeeper announced it has raised $8 million in Series A financing. The round was led by Keen Venture Partners, with participation from Fyrfly Venture Partners, Polytech Ecosystem Ventures, and b-to-v Partners. Several business angels also joined the round including Niklas Zennström, Skype co-founder and founding partner at Atomico; Ariel Lüdi, former CEO of hybris and founder at Hammer Team; and Niklas Ostberg, co-founder and CEO Delivery Hero. Robert Verwaayen, a general partner at Keen Venture Partners, has joined the Beekeeper Board of Directors.
The Beekeeper communication app is designed for those employees who work shifts, don't sit at desks, and do not have corporate email addresses. This represents more than two billion global workers in sectors such as hospitality, retail, manufacturing construction, transportation, food and beverage, and logistics.
"Beekeeper closes the gap between employees working in corporate offices and 70 percent of the global workforce that doesn't spend their day sitting at a desk," said Cristian Grossmann, CEO of Beekeeper, in a statement.
Companies can use the app to easily reach, connect and engage these employees to create new ways of working -- without requiring a corporate email or mobile number to login. The app is built from the ground up to be easy to use and features peer-to-peer messaging, communications streams, group chat, and mobile surveys.
"Beekeeper's mobile app enables all employees to work together better, and drives the top and bottom line through higher productivity and decreased turnover. We saw significant momentum in 2016 from the investments we made in customer success and new features to support major global enterprise customers," added Grossman.
In the past year, several Fortune 500 companies have adopted the service to easily connect with employees regardless of role and location. Beekeeper has also increased its user base by more than 500% and now serves hourly workers in more than 137 countries.
The investment round will be used to fund expansion in the US, as well as Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
"We believe that Beekeeper can become the employee communication and collaboration hub for a part of the global workforce that has been largely forgotten by digital technology," said Verwaayen in a statement.
For organizations, Beekeeper matches corporate identity and branding, with automated workflows and scheduling to fully support operational strategies and communication. The app features real-time measurement to improve communication efficiency, gain insight and calculate impact, allowing for continuous optimization. Beekeeper integrates with over 500 tools and can be extended further with shift management, payroll, intranets, or HR systems.
Read more: Market Wired