Meeting demand: Fellow secures US$24M in series-A funding

Zoom meetings

An Ottawa startup that helps managers at Shopify and other companies host more productive employee meetings has raised millions of dollars in new funding as it pushes to become a global industry leader.

Fellow said Tuesday it’s landed US$24 million in series-A financing for its subscription software platform that provides managers with meeting templates as well as tools to create more focused agendas, gather feedback, assess productivity and assign tasks to employees.

San Francisco-based Craft Ventures led the round with participation from Inovia Capital, Felicis Ventures, Garage Capital, Formentera Capital and SVB Capital. 

Founded in 2017, Fellow’s goal is to make the bane of every employee’s existence – boring, long-winded meetings – a thing of the past. 

Co-founder and CEO Aydin Mirzaee says such idle chatter costs businesses billions of dollars a year in lost productivity in the U.S. alone. 

"‘Meetings’ and ‘delight’ are not typically words that you hear in the same sentence. Fellow is changing that narrative."

“Fellow helps solve this problem and also helps leaders manage their teams more effectively,” he said in a statement. “‘Meetings’ and ‘delight’ are not typically words that you hear in the same sentence. Fellow is changing that narrative so that every meeting is worth showing up to.” 

The firm plans to use the fresh equity to bolster its sales and marketing efforts and boost its R&D spending in a bid to accelerate its rise in the multibillion-dollar global productivity management software market. Now at 40 employees, Fellow says it expects to double its headcount over the next year.

The new funding is the latest step in the venture's ambitious scaleup journey. 

In 2019, Fellow secured $8.75 million in seed funding on the strength of its early connection to Shopify, which helped test the beta version of the platform and now uses the software across the company. Mirzaee told Techopia at the time the firm was on a mission to “make work better for everyone.”

“If we do this correctly, we can be synonymous with the word ‘manager,’” he said.

'Shopify effect'

Buoyed by the “Shopify effect,” Fellow expanded its client roster with customers such as Stanford University, video-teleconferencing software-maker Hopin and U.K.-based fintech firm GoCardless.

The Ottawa firm has continued to gain momentum as business gatherings shifted online during the pandemic, tripling its customer count and the number of meetings hosted on the platform over the past year. 

Craft Ventures partner Lainy Painter said the platform’s ability to help managers make the most of their time with employees who are often working from home and juggling multiple responsibilities has become even more apparent over the past 18 months.

“With the increase of remote work, meeting management has become a critical component for teams to optimize productivity,” Painter said in a statement. “Fellow is helping people have better, more productive meetings while also helping educate and equip leaders to manage more effectively.”