Plasticity Labs, a company that uses data analytics to measure workplace morale, announced that it has raised $2.1 million led by Fibernetics Ventures. The funds will be used for sales and development.
Plasticity was founded in 2012, three years after co-founder and CEO Jim Moss, a former professional lacrosse player for Colorado Mammoth, fell ill with swine flu and was also diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, an auto-immune disorder.
While recovering, Moss and his family began posting photos of themselves holding thank you notes to their friends and family on The Smile Epidemic. Eventually, hundreds of other people around the world also began contributing their own photos. The blog’s success prompted Moss to begin collaborating with researchers including Dr. Anne Wilson, the chair of the Canadian Psychological Research Board.
Eventually, Moss built a consumer app based on The Smile Epidemic. After an invitation to speak at SXSW, Moss decided to focus on creating a product for workplaces instead. The result of that was Plasticity, which was accepted into the HYPERDRIVE Accelerator and received $800,000 in initial funding from angel investors, HYPERDRIVE, BDC, The Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems (MITACS), and the Laurier LaunchPad.
The startup’s name derives from neuroplasticity, which refers to changes in the our brains over time due to factors like our behavior and thinking.
“On a macro level, the key psychological drivers of performance are relatively similar for many individuals and organizations,” said co-founder and CMO (and Jim’s wife) Jennifer Moss in an email.
“By watching and measuring these traits closely over time, we identify the patterns of sentiment that are both correlated and causal to the performance of organizations (sales, net promoter score, productivity, sick days, truancy). We learn the nuances specific to industry verticals, demographics, or market segments, and then tune predictions accordingly, it is very much like stock analytics that investors use to backwards model and de-risk financial investments.”
Then Plasticity takes data models and uses them to develop training programs that “reinforce the psychological traits most common of happy, high performing individuals.”
In terms of competition, Plasticity is positioned between human resources information systems (HRIS), companies like Aon Hewitt, which offer consulting and survey services to gauge employe sentiment, and employee rewards programs like Globoforce and Achievers.
Moss says Plasticity, which focuses on rapid-growth small- to medium-sized businesses, differentiates through the frequency of its data collection and “by foucisng on what inspires employees instead of what simply motivates them.” Plasticity surveys employees once a day, but with questions that only take a minute to answer and then uses that information to create programs that help increase workplace morale.
Plasticity says that in the past 12 months, the company has grown from one to 12 enterprise customers. It now has teams in 11 countries and plans to add employees in another 11. Moss says Plasticity is nine months ahead of its forecasted sales and is about to double its pricing model.