Portfolio

Improving transparency – Why we invested in The Org

FEB 20, 2020

We’re delighted to welcome The Org to the Balderton portfolio today, investing at Series A alongside Founders Fund and Sequoia.

After 20 years as an entrepreneur in the Valley and Europe, uncovering corporate org charts became something of an obsession. They became a secret weapon as I led the charge for growth for companies like Uber and Dropbox through strategic partnerships. In fact, I would regularly get companies together, incidentally at Sequoia’s offices, to conduct org chart hackathons.

Org charts are an indispensable tool for anyone trying to forge a new partnership, build a relationship or indeed, hire new talent. They can even be a useful tool for employees looking to navigate within their own company. Yet, org charts have traditionally been a closely guarded secret and, worse, are rarely up to date even inside companies.

This means we’re often in the dark about who the decision-makers are, and/or who does what within a team. For startups, finding the right decision-maker in a large organization you want to partner with or sell to, can be like a going on a treasure hunt without a map. You want to find the person who cares most about technology or software purchasing. But that’s rarely obvious. The real decision-makers are not always the most senior people on the reporting line. The matchmaking happens the moment the startup finds someone in the organization that shares the same pain point and seeks a technology solution for a specific problem, typically within the product team.

When we heard about The Org, we were so excited someone was finally tackling this challenge.

So, as a former operational entrepreneur, I had already spent almost two decades thinking about a solution to this problem. When we heard about The Org, I was frankly so excited that someone was finally tackling this challenge. I just had to meet them.

The Org was founded by fellow Danes (naturally, another bonus!), Christian Wylonis and Andreas Jarbøl. When Christian and I met up, it quickly became clear I had found a fellow spirit obsessed with org charts. We discussed how it’s human nature to want to correct wrong reporting lines. While at Dropbox I regularly applied an angle where I would bring a printed org chart to meetings, knowing it was not 100% accurate and present it to executives, who would correct and add reporting lines for me. It worked every time, it’s human nature driven by vanity and instinct. It’s how I got an up-to-date picture of the executive decision making tree at Samsung albeit in Korean. However, the org chart is a universal tool that goes beyond language and culture boundaries.

The Org is a professional community where anyone can explore a growing database of 16,000 company organizational charts, including complex firms like Google, Amazon and Microsoft, and get alerts on personnel changes. The Org aggregates data from thousands of public data sources and uses AI to detect team changes in real-time. Users can also see their own company’s org chart and make edits by verifying their company email address. As businesses become more dynamic and complex in structure and people move roles more frequently, real-time org data is becoming increasingly indispensable across many functions and all industries. That is exactly what The Org provides.

The Org’s mission is to make organisations more transparent. They believe, and hope, this will lead to a more collaborative and innovative business community.

The Org’s mission is to make organisations more transparent. They believe, and hope, this will lead to a more collaborative and innovative business community. In an age where secretive practices at larger tech firms have damaged consumer trust, we believe this transparency is something all businesses should be working towards.

The prize ahead is large and The Org is in the lead. We see it becoming an incredibly powerful tool, improving efficiency from the sales floor to the boardroom. We're truly thrilled to have them join the Balderton team of CEOs and founders.

You can read more about the announcement here. This post was originally published on Lars' Medium.

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