Why We Invested: Kadence, Inc.
Kadence is a hybrid-work solution that boosts employee productivity, enhances collaboration, and maximizes a businesses’ workspace all within a consumer-grade application interface.
When we first met Kadence’s CEO, Dan Bladen, in June of 2022 we weren’t looking to jump into the hybrid work craze. We hadn’t developed a “future of work” thesis and we didn’t have conviction on what percentage of work would be remote vs. hybrid vs. “back-to-office.” But sometimes in early stage investing you meet a founder with so much focus and vision that it causes you to stop and look at things with a very different perspective.
The Beginnings of Kadence
Bladen is a technologist and tinkerer who began his career in the non-profit field. In 2013 he launched Chargifi, a hot-desking platform that enabled users to access mobile power using a free app in any public location. For obvious reasons Chargifi’s business model was toast in March of 2020. Instead of giving up, Dan displayed exceptional leadership by leveraging Chargifi’s software IP and pivoting the company to solve the new remote/hybrid work crisis facing employers.
After engaging with Dan and his team, it became clear that the years building Chargifi uniquely positioned them to a) build a killer hybrid-work software product; and, perhaps more importantly, b) develop a thesis, vision, and clear blueprint for what hybrid work should look like for the next generation. Dan isn’t just passionate about building a very successful business, he wants to make an impact on what the workplace will look like for future generations. It turns out this vision has been an important differentiator for Kadence’s growth. Corporate leaders aren’t simply looking to purchase a hybrid software product. In today’s uncertain work environment, Kadence’s customers also need a vision to buy into as they pivot their longstanding business cadences.
The Kadence team’s passion convinced us to examine our “future of work” thesis in more detail. For starters, it is important to appreciate that we are currently living through a seismic shift in the way work gets done. If you really want to dive in, Dror Poleg’s writings are a solid place to start. The premier consulting firms also have some solid literature (like this McKinsey study). To summarize the thought leadership, we are living through the biggest cultural shift in work since the figurative working class employee traded their shift on the assembly line for a cubicle. The Covid-19 pandemic, like it did with so many other trends, further catalyzed this shift away from five days in the office. Post-pandemic, there has been an acceleration in the adoption of hybrid work practices, with 68% of high-growth organizations adopting hybrid or flexible workplace policies.
Our investment thesis in Kadence is driven by two tailwinds:
The growing demand for hybrid working solutions among dynamic teams
The consumerization of enterprise software as a way to enable small business operations
The TAM for Kadence’s offerings in the small and medium sized business (SMB) market alone is ~$2B. And we expect this to be many times larger when including the enterprise portion of the market.
The Kadence Advantage
Predictably, due to the very large TAM and the compelling shift towards hybrid work, there are many other venture-backed companies building hybrid work software solutions. However, after working with Dan and team, we believe Kadence is poised to help facilitate the hybrid transition in a differentiated manner. As mentioned above, their passion for designing with the human elements at the forefront is a key tenant for the business. But that philosophical focus alone is not enough for Kadence to become the market leader. Kadence also sticks out as one of the rare B2B products that feels like a top-notch consumer grade app when in use.
The Kadence Team is passionate about their product. The software offers a compelling blend of impeccable UI/UX, multi-functionality (integrations with Slack, Teams, Gusto, + mobile app), team collaboration, cost savings (via real estate, desk, and IT efficiencies), and smart workforce planning. Kadence is simple and intuitive, yet has the sophisticated integrations necessary for more complex organizational management. This tech stack allows Kadence to be a critical enabler for businesses looking to seamlessly manage a dispersed workforce and optimize their real estate footprints.
Lastly, Kadence has a “who’s who” list of Advisors from the B2B SaaS & future of work world. When a product team has Shaun Ritchie (C-Suite @ Teem & former WeWork), Nick Bloom (prof @ Stanford and well-known scholar about the Future of Work), and Cal Henderson (Co-Founder of Slack) strategically involved, the future offerings of the business are bound to delight customers.
The Hybrid Manifesto
Work is about more than just raw productivity. At the micro and the macro levels it's about the people that are impacted by the work and the culture a given organization creates. Creating a hybrid workplace is generally considered to be more inclusive for a wide swath of the workforce. And most people prefer hybrid work, if it’s implemented correctly. Cultivating the appropriate rhythms, principles, and tools that will allow hybrid teams to thrive is the new standard that business leaders must align to. Employees are now looking for the primary benefit of coming into the office to be the increased productivity that comes with enhanced collaboration. Deep work at home. Collaborative work in the office. However, most of the physical infrastructure of today’s office real estate was not designed with this goal in mind. Empowered with the right tools, companies can overcome this challenge and build high-performing hybrid teams. Kadence’s launch of the “Hybrid Manifesto” reinforces the company’s dedication to a values-driven approach in driving increased employee collaboration, organizational trust, and incentive alignment.
If you are a business leader, or culture builder, we would encourage you to read Kadence’s Hybrid Manifesto. If you agree with the tenets - sign it, and share it.
And lastly, if your organization is interested in better software tools to help you build the workplace of the future, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for a demo and free trial of their platform.
About Hamilton Ventures
Hamilton Ventures is a seed-stage venture capital firm investing in proptech and real estate tech startups. Today, real estate and technology are at an inflection point: AI, machine learning, data and analytics, and software-as-a-service are on the verge of wide deployment in real estate. Our definition of real estate is broad – covering residential, commercial, construction, climate technologies, and hospitality. Hamilton’s mission is to help proptech founders accomplish their goals by leveraging the collective expertise and network of our investors –former real estate CXOs, entrepreneurs, and financiers. Learn more at hamiltonventures.io.
Connect with Hamilton Ventures
If you are interested in investing in our portfolio opportunities, reach out to Prashant Kothari: email@example.com