As more people venture back into the office, meetings have become more hybrid, with people at both home and in the office. Fellow aims to help managers have productive meetings no matter how their teams meet.
Fellow co-founder and CEO Aydin Mirzaee told TechCrunch that unproductive meetings — you know, the ones that really could be emails — cost U.S. companies $37 billion annually. Instead, he believes that productive meetings are about collaborative agendas, recording history and following a process.
“Before, when we were all in-person, no one brought any devices into a meeting, and now every meeting is on a device, which has opened up the landscape,” he explained. “It’s crazy to think that people haven’t built software for meetings in the past, but now it makes sense to have a platform across the company to make sure all meetings are productive.”
The meeting management software company, founded in 2017, provides tools all in one place that are meant to support all kinds of meetings. Fellow’s SaaS business model includes a free plan and tiers for additional users and organizational features.
Some of the features include agenda templates, action item identification, analytics for insights into how often people are meeting and integrations with virtual meeting software for note taking.
Fellow’s list of customers includes Shopify, Hopin and GoCardless. Over the last year, the company saw that list more than triple, as did the number of meetings hosted on the platform. In addition, over 2 million meeting agendas and notes were recorded, and the company is on track to quadruple its revenue this year, Mirzaee said.
To continue on that trajectory, the company announced $24 million in Series A funding. Craft Ventures led the round and was joined by iNovia, Felicis, Garage Ventures, Formentera and SVB. The new funding will go toward product development, building its infrastructure and hiring in sales, marketing and customer success. It brings the company’s total funds raised to $30.5 million, according to the company.
The global virtual meeting software market is forecasted to be valued at $41.6 billion by 2027. Meanwhile, the global productivity management software market reached $43 billion in 2020 and will grow 14% annually through 2028.
This has startups lining up to get a piece of it, and Fellow is one of the latest on a list that attracted venture capital attention. Just in the past month this has included:
- Hera, a virtual meeting calendar
- Read AI, a meeting dashboard to show engagement
- Vowel, aiming to make meetings more useful before, during and after
Mirzaee agrees there is competition, but says there are few options that are purpose-built for meetings, and Fellow’s approach is unique.
“Our vision is to build a meeting productivity product aimed at helping managers have productive meetings and then manage their teams,” he added. “There are few solutions out there purpose-built for meetings.”
Lainy Painter, partner at Craft Ventures, also pointed out that Fellow has been able to start out with one team and rapidly expand within an organization once they see how productive they can be.
Painter is a user of the tool, and with remote work here to stay, the meeting is just one of the workflows that had not been optimized yet.
“I see Fellow dominating the meeting management category,” she added. “We are still in the early stage of shifting to how we will be working with remote work, and though we saw a lot of that move in the early months to a Zoom interface, a lot of optimization was left on the table. The future of work and meetings is adopting new tools that take advantage of being fully remote and not just taking an existing paradigm and replicating it.”