A startup from Phil Libin’s ‘studio’ thinks its artificial intelligence will make employees happier at work


Phil Libin headshot
Phil Libin, cofounder and
former CEO of Evernote, launched All Turtles in May 2017 as a
studio for developing artificial intelligence
startups.


All Turtles


  • Disco, a startup partnered with Evernote cofounder Phil
    Libin’s young artificial intelligence studio All Turtles,
    released its product to paying customers Tuesday.
  • The product tracks positive language within office chat
    apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams, and then aggregates the
    comments into positive feedback reports for employees,
    managers, and executives looking to get a sense of what is
    going right on their teams.
  • The idea is that positive reinforcement can keep
    employees happy and improve office culture.


An artificial intelligence startup backed by Evernote cofounder
Phil Libin and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff wants to automate
positive reinforcement. 

Disco — one of the first
companies to come out the artificial intelligence lab All
Turtles,
which Libin launched in May
— is 

an employee feedback tool that scans office
chat software like Slack and Microsoft Teams for compliments and
positive comments.

Those comments are then
aggregated into reports that employees can regularly check for
positive feedback. 

The idea behind it, said CEO
Jeremy Vandehey, is that employees work better and harder when
they feel that their efforts are recognized by the
company. 


Disco CEO Jeremy Vandehey
CEO
Jeremy Vandehey opened up Disco’s product to paying customers on
Tuesday.

Disco

Vandehey started developing the product in 2015 after working at
companies where positive feedback was hard to come by. He
believes that Disco can help companies build a culture of
positivity, which ultimately will be reflected in the quality of
work. 

After members of a particular
workgroup invite the Disco bot into their group, the bot quietly
monitors and collects examples of each individual’s good work. If
a company’s values involve prioritizing customers for example,
Disco will log each time a staffer says or does something that
reflects that they prioritize customers.

“At its core, we’ve simplified
the ways you give positive feedback to your coworkers, managers
and even you’re executives,” Vandehey said.
“It’s basically democratized that whole experience and made it a
lot easier to do that every single day, versus once a quarter or
even once a year, by being inside of the work
stream.”

On Tuesday, Disco opened up its
product to paying customers. So far the product has enjoyed a
hefty beta mode with 20,000 different companies using it
internally, including

 Spotify, Intuit, Adobe, Slack, and
Walmart. 

Disco will
charge companies $4 per employee per month, or $3 per person for
month for annual subscriptions. 

The platform uses natural
language processing and machine learning to create profiles for
employees based off of what people have said about them in
digital environments.

Employers can issue regular
feedback reports to show their workers what they’re doing well,
or to keep track of an employee’s strengths for review
purposes. 

There is one problem though: while Disco has all of the makings
of an automated review platform, Vandehey said that there is no
mechanism for tracking negative feedback. 

“We want to feel good about developing a culture of appreciation
before we talk about that,” Vandehey said about a negative
comment tracker. “It’s something a lot of our customers ask for
because they want to fully replace performance reviews with real
time feedback system. But we don’t want to release something like
that without really thinking through the consequences of opening
up constructive feedback to the masses.” 

Investors, so far, don’t seem to
mind the positive approach. 
Disco has raised $2.15
million in seed funding from General Catalyst, Slack Fund,
XSeed Capital, Inventus Capital Partners, 500 Startups, and
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.



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A startup from Phil Libin’s ‘studio’ thinks its artificial intelligence will make employees happier at work


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