Polly Want a Slack Plugin? Seattle Enterprise IT Startup Raises $7M

Some people relish the opportunity to give feedback to individuals and organizations that have served them—think Yelp and Google users who rate every restaurant where they’ve eaten. Others may be less eager to evaluate a recent Uber trip, for example, but must do so before they can request their next ride.

In today’s data-driven world, people are being asked to complete more surveys and reviews—both when they’re at work and off-duty. One company that’s working to help its customers track the feedback they and their employees get is Seattle-based Polly. Specifically, Polly has built software that integrates with productivity tools companies are already using, like Slack and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Teams, to streamline the processes of surveying customers and managing their responses.

On Wednesday, Polly announced it raised $7 million in a funding round led by Seattle-based Madrona Venture Group. Other participants in the investment included return backers Amplify Partners, Fathom Capital, and the Slack Fund, Polly says.

In a blog post on the startup’s website, Polly co-founder and CEO Samir Diwan says some of the new money will go toward product development, including enhancing the security and privacy controls within the software. Diwan says the new funding will also allow Polly to double its headcount, though he did not give a specific timeline for hiring more employees.

Polly’s user base currently numbers in the “tens of thousands,” Diwan says in the post.

The startup says its client roster includes Pure Storage (NYSE: PSTG), a Mountain View, CA-based company that sells computer storage hardware and software. Pure Storage has configured its workspace in Slack, a developer of enterprise communication software used by businesses of all sizes, to integrate with some of Polly’s tools, Diwan says.

The California company’s IT department has used Polly to allow Pure Storage customers who have requested and received technical support from the company to complete satisfaction surveys within Slack after Pure Storage indicates it has resolved the ticket pertaining to their issue, Diwan says. Part of the rationale for building this functionality is that some Pure Storage customers have employees who spend a lot of their day working in Slack. Allowing them to use Slack to rate the support they got from Pure Storage—an integration that Polly’s software makes possible—means they don’t have to jump to another application to complete the feedback request, he says.

Another example of a customer using Polly’s tools that Diwan gives in his blog post involves automatically creating surveys asking a new hire’s colleagues about his or her performance at fixed intervals past the person’s start date—seven days, 30 days, and three months, for example.

Diwan and Bilal Aijazi, Polly’s chief technology officer, founded the startup in 2015 with the idea of putting surveys inside of Slack. They have since introduced integrations between Polly and Microsoft Teams, a product the Redmond, WA-based technology giant introduced in 2016 that many view as a direct competitor of Slack. (Aijazi and Diwan both previously worked at Microsoft as engineers.)

Microsoft Teams has been seeing rapid recent adoption, according to research by the Austin, TX-based firm Spiceworks. Slack remains popular, though, especially at organizations with relatively small numbers of employees, according to Spiceworks.

In addition to Slack and Microsoft Teams, Polly’s products can interface with tools developed by several other software companies, Diwan says. They include Google Sheets, Smartsheet (NYSE: SMAR), and Workday (NASDAQ: WDAY), he says.

Jeff Buchanan is the editor of Xconomy Seattle. Email: jbuchanan@xconomy.com Follow @_jeffbuchanan

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