LinkedIn has conquered the market when it comes to putting your own professional profile online and using it to network for jobs, industry connections and professional development. However, when it comes to creating an overview of the people, and especially the leadership teams, that make up organizations more holistically, Microsoft's own network comes up short: You can search for company names, but there is a possibility that you can get them A list of people based on their connectivity to you and otherwise in no particular order (including people who may no longer be with the company). And there is little to verify to prove that someone who claims to work for a company really is.
Now a startup called The Org hopes to take over LinkedIn and close this gap with an ambitious idea: to create a database (currently free to use) of organizational charts for every leading company and possibly every company in the world, then add more features , e.g. B. Job advertisements, e.g. B. Organizations that want to hire employees who have obvious gaps in their organizational charts.
With 16,000 companies previously profiled on its platform, a total of 50,000 companies in its database, and approximately 100,000 visitors per month, The Org announces $ 11 million funding: a Series A of $ 8.5 million Dollars and a previously unannounced $ 2.5 million launch round.
Under the direction of the Founders Fund, Series A includes the participation of Sequoia and Balderton in addition to a number of angels. Sequoia is actually a repeat investor: It also led The Org's $ 2.5 million launch round, which included the start-up fund, Kevin Hartz, Elad Gil, Ryan Petersen and SV Angel. Keith Rabois, who is now a partner at Founders Fund but was formerly Vice President of Business and Corporate Development at LinkedIn, also joins the startup's board of directors.
The Org, headquartered in New York and Copenhagen, Denmark, was co-founded by Christian Wylonis (CEO) and Andreas Jarbøl, partly inspired by an article in the online tech publication The Information, which provided an organizational chart for the top people at Airbnb (currently 90 entries).
"This article went crazy viral," said Wylonis in an interview. “I would understand why anyone outside of Airbnb is interested in it, but it turned out that the company's employees were also fascinated by it. I started to think that if you take something like an organization chart and make it public, I think it will just be interesting. "
So The Org set about building a larger business based on the concept.
The Org is currently targeting two different markets: those outside of the company that are most interested in who works where and what – for example, recruiters, HR personnel who use the data to model their own organization charts or salespeople; and those inside (or outside) who are just interested in who does what.
The Org aims to have 100,000 organizational charts on its platform by the end of the year with the long-term goal of covering 1 million. Currently, the focus is on adding companies in the U.S. before expanding to other markets.
The idea of creating organization charts for many companies sounds simple enough, but there is also a reason why this has not yet happened: It is far from as easy as it looks. This is one of the reasons why even trying to solve this problem is of interest to top VCs – especially those who have worked in startups and fast growing technology companies themselves.
"Today information about teams is unstructured, scattered and unchecked, making it difficult for employees and recruiters to understand organizational structures," said Roelof Botha, a partner at Sequoia Capital, in a statement.
“Organization charts were the secret weapon for building partnerships during my 20 years as an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley and Europe. However, they are a closely guarded secret that must be carefully hand-assembled, ”said Lars Fjeldsoe-Nielsen, general partner at Balderton Capital, in a statement. "The Org shows up with this important information and improves efficiency from the sales area to the boardroom."
"Current organizational charts can be useful for everything from recruitment to sales, but it is difficult and time-consuming to put them together," Rabois added in a statement. "The organization makes this valuable information easily accessible in a way that we never did on LinkedIn."
The approach The Org has taken to create these profiles has been collaborative. While The Org itself may set some company names and seeds and update them with information from publicly available sources, this approach leaves many gaps.
This is where a wiki-style crowdsourcing approach comes into play. As with other business-based network services such as Slack, users of a particular company can use their business email addresses to log in to that organization's profile, and from there, they can add or change entries when entering data into a wiki. The idea is that multiple people involved in the changes help keep the company's organizational chart more accurate.
While The Org's idea is promising and seems to fill a void that other companies like LinkedIn – or from another direction Glassdoor – don't address in their own company profiling, I also see some challenges that could result from encountering, how it grows.
Platforms like LinkedIn or Glassdoor, which offer insights into a corporate landscape, ultimately focus more on individuals and their own representations. This means that by nature these platforms may never provide complete pictures of companies themselves, only parts of them. The org, on the other hand, starts from the presentation of the company itself, which means that the resulting gaps may become more apparent if they are never filled, which may make the org less useful as a tool.
Likewise, if these diagrams are really often closely monitored by companies (which I don't doubt is true, since they can pose poaching risks or imitators in the form of companies trying to build organizational structures based on the activities of their more successful competitors) I could see how some companies could start contacting The Org to remove their profiles and charts.
Wylonis said that "99%" of the companies have previously agreed with what The Org builds. "We see that transparency is of interest to the people who work there," he said. "I think everyone should strive for it. Why block The world is changing and if the only way to retain your talent is to hide your organization chart, you have other problems in your company. "
He added that The Org has had no official requests so far, "but we did have informal requests about how we received our information. Some companies send us an email about changes. And when a single person contacts and says, "I don't want to be here," we delete it. But it only happened a few times. "It is not clear whether this proportion will remain the same, or increase or decrease as The Org grows.
In the meantime, the other big question The Org is going to deal with is how detailed it should be.
"I hope that one day we can have an updated and complete organizational chart for every company, but that could be difficult," said Wylonis. In fact, this could mean mapping 1 million people at Walmart, for example. “It can happen that the top 500 are determined for the largest companies and the top 30-40 for smaller companies. And people can make corrections at any time to extend them if they want. "