Riff raises $1.5M to make working from home feel more like being in the office

Balderton led the Seed round with participation from Seedcamp and angel investors Carlos Gonzalez-Cadenas, Nicolas Brusson and Tim Sadler.

Riff is a voice-first chat tool set to revolutionise how teams communicate when working remotely. 

Set up by CEO Isabel Bescos (former head of corporate strategy at BlaBlaCar, and former member of our very own investment team), with CTO Matthew Scheybeler, (co-founder of Silicon Valley’s pioneering video search tool, blinkx), Riff is the answer to the everyday pain points felt by teams trying to communicate from different locations.

For years, companies have been searching for ways to make office communications faster. Not just for when team members are working from home, but between teams on different floors, different offices or across time zones. None have quite managed to combine speed and efficiency with security and minimal disruption until now.

Riff CEO, Isabel Bescos

For all the benefits of working remotely – for both employees and employers – it can be a lonely, frustrating experience, particularly when trying to establish a team culture or work collaboratively. Email is formal but cumbersome. Instant messaging is quick but distracting. Video calls need multiple apps, links, passwords and calendar integrations to schedule, and phone calls usually mean switching your headphones to a new source, or trying to type while holding the phone. 

Riff hits the sweet spot between the instant interaction and traceability of Slack, with immediacy and the ease of communication that comes from phone conversations and the security of company-wide email – all without having to schedule calls and organise unnecessary meetings.

Riff hits the sweet spot between the instant interaction and traceability of Slack and the ease of phone conversations

It mimics the instant, collaborative interactions you get from working in an office, and is the digital equivalent of turning to a colleague in an open-plan office. A voice-first tool, it gets people as close to working alongside their colleagues as possible, even when they’re hundreds of miles apart.

We are inundated with notifications, pop-ups, chat tools and various distractions vying for our attention when trying to communicate and work with others. Yet none have managed to get to the crux of what it’s really like to be able to collaborate quickly with colleagues in an office. As more of us work remotely, there needs to be a better way. We see huge potential in Riff’s unique approach to solving this challenge, and we’re thrilled to partner with them to bring its array of benefits to more companies.

Suranga Chandratillake, General Partner, Balderton

Riff is currently in private beta and the startup is actively seeking companies to put Riff and its benefits to the test. You can apply for the private beta here.

The investment will be used to launch Riff into public beta later this year ahead of a general release in 2021 and for recruitment.

The potential of Riff is huge. We’re only just scratching the surface of what such a communication tool can do and offer to companies and it’s an exciting road to be on.

Riff CEO, Isabel Bescos

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