New Basecamp Investment: Centered
Centered is a workplace productivity app tackling a familiar problem with a new approach and business model.
Our “Seeding the Future” series explores trends, opportunities, and companies from the seed and pre-seed venture world. This is the investment focus of AVG’s newest Basecamp Fund.
The fund is closing at the end of December! Click below to learn more.
We’re pleased to introduce another addition to the AVG Basecamp Fund. We love the smart positioning and savvy marketing model of this company.
The Productivity App That Manages Your To Do’s and Wellness
Centered is a workplace productivity app tackling a familiar problem with a new approach and business model. They’re addressing three growing trends: the increased need for workplace productivity, the focus on wellness in an increasingly stressful world, and the “prosumerization” of the enterprise.
Fostering Productivity AND Wellness
In an era when workers laboring from home are feeling isolated, stressed, and maxed out, Centered meets them where they are, addressing both productivity and wellness. Centered aims to produce a “flow state” where a user is immersed in a task, using full mental capacity, and not distracted or stressed. In other words, being productive, while not experiencing burnout.
To achieve this, Centered integrates task management features with mindfulness at every step:
- Replaces the clutter of the typical productivity tools with a UX that integrates content and “to do” list functionality to transform work tasks into “playlists”
- Provides soothing ambient music to help maximize focus
- Offers gentle prompts to keep users on “task”
- Generates analytics and insights on-off task distraction time and milestones achieved – nudging to more productive behavior.
Targeting Trojan Horse Prosumers
Another difference in Centered’s approach is that they are selling to consumers — or more accurately, prosumers — directly, modeling on the successful launch of email productivity app SuperHuman. (Cliff Notes on SuperHuman: their last round was led by Andreessen Horowitz; Marc Andreessen and David Ulevitch are on the board; and it was the most wanted product on Product Hunt, with 350K+ people on their waitlist.)
Prosumerization of the enterprise refers to the SaaS trend of prosumers (professional + consumers) buying professional grade software for their own use, nor waiting for top-down introductions from enterprises. Prosumers are the top percentage of users who work extensively with a product and evangelize their favorites.
Just as SuperHuman did, Centered is already developing a waitlist and using niche influencer marketing via Silicon Valley tech executives and social media influencers to create a buzz on Twitter and Instagram. Short term, they are selling SaaS subscriptions directly to users. Long term, the company believes its direct-to-consumer licensing models will converge with enterprise contracts, enabling Centered to sell directly to large organizations with workforces comprised primarily of knowledge workers.
About the Deal
We participated in a $3M Seed round with this experienced syndicate.
- The round was led by Uncorked Capital. Uncorked Partner Stephanie Palmeri — who led investments at companies like Poshmark, ClassDojo, Clever, and Survata — is taking a board seat and will thus be deeply invested in its success.
- Remote First and Shrug Capital, two rising emerging funds, were also involved in the round. Remote First Capital has domain expertise in workplace SaaS products, and Shrug (though only founded in 2018) has had 7 exits.
- Other participants included angels Hilton Shah and James Beshara. James Beshara is a former Y Combinator adviser who founded Tilt (acquired by Airbnb) and has invested in multi-billion dollar companies such as Gusto, Halo Top, and ThirdLove.
- Strong Founder/Market Fit. CEO Ulf Schwekendiek is a serial founder with a highly technical background who has been part of a number of successful early stage businesses (Siri, Ditto bought by Groupon, Detour sold to Bose). He has worked in technical and operational roles in startups and deeply understands the prosumer market.
- Large, Fast-Growing Market. The workplace productivity market will be $107 billion by 2021, expanding at a CAGR of 13.4%. The workplace wellness market will be $66 billion by 2022, with a CAGR of 5.9%.
- Trending. We’re living through an explosion of the information economy and the rise of prosumers and knowledge workers. There has been a new wave of digital tools created to enable these knowledge workers, such as Superhuman and Headspace, and they’re experiencing high margins and great success.
- Moving Towards Monetization. The company is just exiting a successful 6-month beta and is now actively iterating towards product/market fit and its official launch. They are experiencing healthy MoM growth and minimal customer churn. If Centered can refine and perfect the user experience, it has the potential for high CLTV, gross margins, and scalability.