Aware Helps Companies Understand Team Behavior Across Collaborative Platforms
If your company is like many others in today’s diverse, hybrid working world, managers, teams, and executives are exponentially increasing their use of online messaging and collaboration tools. Slack, Workplace from Meta, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and more have become welcomed as effective ways to rapidly share knowledge in real time and boost productivity.
Think how much information that moves back and forth over these systems as they so easily integrate human conversation and technology, information that is as uniquely valuable as it is unstructured and complex to manage. Companies need help.
These are the challenges that Aware, the enterprise-grade collaboration governance platform founded just four years ago, was created to solve—challenges that are just the beginning of what Aware’s AI-driven, human-centric SaaS solutions can provide.
“We have the innovative, leading edge technology in a category that didn’t exist. We are building a solution to compete in a league of its own,” said Betsy Sewell, Aware spokesperson.
Aware Harnesses the New Data Set
The silo-driven, legacy data management tools that are the mainstay of most companies’ information technology infrastructure weren’t designed to manage the unstructured digital conversations that proliferate with collaboration tools. The collaborative platforms weren’t designed to handle the operational, data governance complexities of businesses. Aware more than fills the gap.
“Information management and data protection are two big use cases companies need to solve,” said Sewell. “Legacy technologies weren’t created in in a way to handle conversational data sets. Legacy tools don’t know how to make sense of that unstructured data. Aware is purposely built for that.”
Businesses around the world use the Aware platform as a comprehensive solution for acceptable use and legal compliance; monitoring and archiving; data protection and cyber security, all especially relevant as companies are developing strategies for permanent hybrid and remote work. Aware can detect risks and analyze employee sentiments from the real-time conversations that live in these platforms, including comments, surrounding conversation context, images and more.
“Aware is building a world-class enterprise software company,” said Ryan Helon executive vice-president, Investment Funds at Rev1 Ventures. “Aware provides software that secures communications for companies that implement collaborative platforms and allows companies to understand the many aspects of human collaboration by analyzing the interactions that takes place across company messaging platforms.”
Beyond potential risks, the human data created by digital collaboration platforms is also full of insights. “By understanding who collaborates with whom and where pockets of expertise really are in the organization,” Helon said, “Aware provides insights that help companies see the networks of people who work together without directly reporting or being on a team, and how work really gets done.”
“Aware’s founders had an idea in the very early days of enterprise messaging platforms, and they saw an opportunity to build a product company that could add significant value to companies implementing these platforms. We were impressed by the founding team from our first interactions, and we are pleased to part of the company’s initial funding round,” Helon said.
“Aware’s early version reached the market as the platforms were starting to gain momentum, and then the tool usage really took off during the pandemic,” he said. “That led to a $12 million Series B equity investment that closed last year. Aware is the category leader in what they do. They closed more deals through the first six months of 2021, and last summer Goldman Sachs approached them.”
Aware recently raised $60 million in Series C funding in a round led by Goldman Sachs with participation from previous investors, including Rev1 Ventures. The round will help the company scale with key hires further investment in technology, and business development initiatives into additional markets.
Collaboration Is the Cornerstone of the Culture at Aware
“Our company is rooted in digital collaboration and communications. The founders take culture very seriously. The heart of that vision is checking your ego at the door and making sure that we all are working toward the good of the company,” said Sewell.
“That means every employee feeling like they can approach anyone in the company with questions, comments, and suggestions without any backlash,” she said. “Our collaboration makes us better and smarter. Having that vision for us to rally behind has been incredibly important. We have a team that is truly collaborative and inclusive. We support each other in ways that make our technology smarter and our business better.”
During the first year of the pandemic, Aware operated primarily all remote. “We were intentional about coming together as teams or small groups, either virtually or socially distanced outside in a park. The pandemic opened the door for us to start hiring some permanently remote employees. That has allowed us to grow our employee base with new skill sets and to find specific technical roles and very specialized capabilities.”
Aware reaches customers primarily through direct sales. Customers range from large to mid-sized enterprises, with a few customers who have just a handful of employees. Aware also has strong relationships with leading collaboration and messaging platforms. Aware is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Slack compliance partner, and a Workplace from Meta integration partner.
“Our platform is so versatile, we are industry agnostic,” Sewell said. “Every customer we have has a need for data protection, data retention, and data recovery. Everyone has to deal with privacy regulations, which means that every company needs a tool like Aware. Regardless of what the customer chooses to do with Aware, we are easy to implement. Much of what our platform offers fits into existing processes.”
Aware Helps Companies Learn How to Use New Insights
If there is a learning curve with Aware, it’s not in figuring out how to implement or use the tool. It is figuring out how to use the insights gained from the networking and cooperation that happens via these collaboration tools.
“When you have these insights, how do you apply them back to the business?” Sewell said. “When you learn that overall sentiment about something dropped overnight, who do you tell? What action do you take to make it go back up? Our customer success team works with customers to set up an action plan. The insights you gain about employee engagement and wellbeing greatly augments what you might gain from a typical survey—it’s more authentic and offers immediate feedback to the business, without the need to wait weeks or months to understand how your people are thinking or feeling.”