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Multitudes: The culture start-up built by the pandemic

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20 April 2021

In a post-pandemic world, with companies encouraging employees to continue to work from home, how will a healthy team dynamic be maintained? SaaS company Multitudes is helping teams improve culture and performance by providing data-led insights on day to day team behaviours and easy-to-access coaching for managers to unlock more inclusive, higher performing teams.

They believe that “Lines of code don’t create value; people do.” In fact, research shows that how teams work together – also known as “group norms” – is the #1 driver of team performance. However, norms are intangible and hard to see, and as more teams move to working online, managers have fewer cues for what’s happening. The Multitudes platform is specifically designed to measure how people work together in the digital space.

Multitudes allows business leaders to identify blind spots and untapped potential in their teams, collect relevant data, put key insights into context, and action advice to build stronger teams. The tool integrates seamlessly with software that teams are already using to collaborate, such as GitHub and Slack, so it can collect data on actual behavioural patterns without disrupting people’s flow of work. By looking at how people work together to get things done, Multitudes is able to generate insights about team performance, trust, growth opportunities, and support.

Unlike traditional means of evaluating team performance, Multitudes focuses on measuring teams’ collaborative effort to deliver a project rather than individual output. They do this by collecting a unique mix of performance and culture data. Performance indicators are things like Cycle Time (how quickly a team gets a piece of work production-ready) and Level of Focus (how aligned a team is in their work.) Team culture data examines behaviours on an individual level that reflect wellbeing (such as amount of work being done on weekends), psychological safety (such as levels of participation in discussions), and collaboration trends (for example, who is and isn’t getting feedback on their work).

University of Auckland Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) alumnus Vivek Katial joined the founding team as a Data Scientist, designing and building data solutions for the Multitudes platform. He says, “Our metrics are based on three things: academic research, our founder’s experience consulting for and coaching tech teams, and our own lived experiences as developers.”

“On the performance side, we’ve been heavily inspired by the DORA research programme. On the culture side, we’ve prioritised metrics that are leading indicators of performance issues (like when it’s taking people longer to get feedback on their work) as well as metrics that indicate how inclusive a team is in practice. Inclusion is the heart of our product – it impacts whether people have a good work experience, and is linked to better performance outcomes too.”

The idea for Multitudes came about when founder Lauren Peate was working on her diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting business Ally Skills NZ. She wanted to be able to measure the impact of her workshops and consulting projects, and track how people were actually doing day to day. She realised that managers and HR leaders were struggling with the same problem, and existing tools were not delivering the insights they needed.

The onset of Covid-19 shortly after Multitudes’ founding in 2019 accelerated the need for this kind of platform as remote work brought previously unseen team issues and stresses to light. Vivek says, “Covid-19 really triggered the massive switch to digital collaboration, so we had lots of data to analyse as part of our service. The pandemic also made it easier for us to go global. Lauren raised our seed round from investors in New Zealand, Australia, and the US over Zoom, without ever leaving New Zealand. Similarly, we’ve just brought in a global pool of beta testers, all through networks and Zoom conversations.”

Earlier this year, Multitudes raised $2.4M NZD to build their beta product in a round led by Blackbird Ventures. This investment has given them the ability to scale up, work on the venture full time, and grow the team. Vivek says that “we’re now able to move a lot faster than before to develop our product.” The team has plans to add integrations to support departments outside of engineering such as product management, sales, and marketing.

Multitudes’ most interesting learning curves as a new start-up have been around building an equitable and inclusive team and fast-paced decision making. Vivek explains, “It’s important to us that we practice what we preach, but there aren’t many models for how to make equity and inclusion the default at work. So, we’re very much figuring this out as we go. Working in a start-up environment also means you often don’t have time to explore all the pros and cons of the decisions you need to make. You need to learn to trust your instincts and have conviction in making decisions.”

While studying, Vivek participated in a number of events and challenges run by Velocity, the University’s free entrepreneurship development programme, delivered by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. A highlight for him was watching teams pitch at the Velocity $100k Challenge finals. He says, “It was so exciting to see all the cool ways people from undergrads to professors were solving the world’s problems. I also enjoyed going to a bunch of guest speaker events and hearing the stories of people working at exciting start-ups like PowerByProxi and Parrot Analytics.”

Though unexpected, Vivek has no regrets about forging a career around innovation and entrepreneurship. He says, “I gained a ton of intangible skills like leadership, prioritisation, working under pressure, ambiguity in business requirements and dealing with external stakeholders – things you don’t necessarily face in lecture theatres.” Regardless of career path, Vivek recommends to students that they “put themselves in a role where the rate of learning is maximised, where you’re learning from people who actually care about you and want to help you grow. The team you surround yourself with truly does make all the difference.”

Velocity Team 2020
Velocity Team 2020

social media

20 April 2021

In a post-pandemic world, with companies encouraging employees to continue to work from home, how will a healthy team dynamic be maintained? SaaS company Multitudes is helping teams improve culture and performance by providing data-led insights on day to day team behaviours and easy-to-access coaching for managers to unlock more inclusive, higher performing teams.

They believe that “Lines of code don’t create value; people do.” In fact, research shows that how teams work together – also known as “group norms” – is the #1 driver of team performance. However, norms are intangible and hard to see, and as more teams move to working online, managers have fewer cues for what’s happening. The Multitudes platform is specifically designed to measure how people work together in the digital space.

Multitudes allows business leaders to identify blind spots and untapped potential in their teams, collect relevant data, put key insights into context, and action advice to build stronger teams. The tool integrates seamlessly with software that teams are already using to collaborate, such as GitHub and Slack, so it can collect data on actual behavioural patterns without disrupting people’s flow of work. By looking at how people work together to get things done, Multitudes is able to generate insights about team performance, trust, growth opportunities, and support.

Unlike traditional means of evaluating team performance, Multitudes focuses on measuring teams’ collaborative effort to deliver a project rather than individual output. They do this by collecting a unique mix of performance and culture data. Performance indicators are things like Cycle Time (how quickly a team gets a piece of work production-ready) and Level of Focus (how aligned a team is in their work.) Team culture data examines behaviours on an individual level that reflect wellbeing (such as amount of work being done on weekends), psychological safety (such as levels of participation in discussions), and collaboration trends (for example, who is and isn’t getting feedback on their work).

University of Auckland Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) alumnus Vivek Katial joined the founding team as a Data Scientist, designing and building data solutions for the Multitudes platform. He says, “Our metrics are based on three things: academic research, our founder’s experience consulting for and coaching tech teams, and our own lived experiences as developers.”

“On the performance side, we’ve been heavily inspired by the DORA research programme. On the culture side, we’ve prioritised metrics that are leading indicators of performance issues (like when it’s taking people longer to get feedback on their work) as well as metrics that indicate how inclusive a team is in practice. Inclusion is the heart of our product – it impacts whether people have a good work experience, and is linked to better performance outcomes too.”

The idea for Multitudes came about when founder Lauren Peate was working on her diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting business Ally Skills NZ. She wanted to be able to measure the impact of her workshops and consulting projects, and track how people were actually doing day to day. She realised that managers and HR leaders were struggling with the same problem, and existing tools were not delivering the insights they needed.

The onset of Covid-19 shortly after Multitudes’ founding in 2019 accelerated the need for this kind of platform as remote work brought previously unseen team issues and stresses to light. Vivek says, “Covid-19 really triggered the massive switch to digital collaboration, so we had lots of data to analyse as part of our service. The pandemic also made it easier for us to go global. Lauren raised our seed round from investors in New Zealand, Australia, and the US over Zoom, without ever leaving New Zealand. Similarly, we’ve just brought in a global pool of beta testers, all through networks and Zoom conversations.”

Earlier this year, Multitudes raised $2.4M NZD to build their beta product in a round led by Blackbird Ventures. This investment has given them the ability to scale up, work on the venture full time, and grow the team. Vivek says that “we’re now able to move a lot faster than before to develop our product.” The team has plans to add integrations to support departments outside of engineering such as product management, sales, and marketing.

Multitudes’ most interesting learning curves as a new start-up have been around building an equitable and inclusive team and fast-paced decision making. Vivek explains, “It’s important to us that we practice what we preach, but there aren’t many models for how to make equity and inclusion the default at work. So, we’re very much figuring this out as we go. Working in a start-up environment also means you often don’t have time to explore all the pros and cons of the decisions you need to make. You need to learn to trust your instincts and have conviction in making decisions.”

While studying, Vivek participated in a number of events and challenges run by Velocity, the University’s free entrepreneurship development programme, delivered by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. A highlight for him was watching teams pitch at the Velocity $100k Challenge finals. He says, “It was so exciting to see all the cool ways people from undergrads to professors were solving the world’s problems. I also enjoyed going to a bunch of guest speaker events and hearing the stories of people working at exciting start-ups like PowerByProxi and Parrot Analytics.”

Though unexpected, Vivek has no regrets about forging a career around innovation and entrepreneurship. He says, “I gained a ton of intangible skills like leadership, prioritisation, working under pressure, ambiguity in business requirements and dealing with external stakeholders – things you don’t necessarily face in lecture theatres.” Regardless of career path, Vivek recommends to students that they “put themselves in a role where the rate of learning is maximised, where you’re learning from people who actually care about you and want to help you grow. The team you surround yourself with truly does make all the difference.”


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