Boston-based Robin, a sensor and workplace automation startup that spun out of digital agency One Mighty Roar, has raised $1.4 million in seed funding from Atlas Venture, Deep Fork Capital, Boldstart Ventures, and Space Pirates.
Both Robin and One Mighty Roar were founded by Zach and Sam Dunn (who were also part of BetaBoston’s “25 Under 25” — part of the former “Hive”). In addition to the Dunn brothers, chief operating officer Apollo Sinkevicius and chief technology officer Brian Muse helped co-found Robin.
One Mighty Roar, which will still exist as a digital product company for the wide-range of original assets it created, initially offered unique digital marketing services for advertising and marketing to large corporations and events before shifting to a digital agency model.
Robin, which is an offshoot of projects developed as part of the work at One Mighty Roar, has been focusing on building what it calls “Robin Powered” offices — smart workspaces that react and engage with employees in a number of practical, fun, and productive ways.
As Robin chief executive Sam Dunn said, “Robin allows employees running an app on their phone to have rooms react to their presence.” The space around workers will now allow rooms to be automatically booked and will also allow for the handing out a “virtual business” cards and the unpacking a number of what Dunn called “digital assets” including Dropbox documents, shared calendars, and more.
Robin’s products also allow data culled from its mobile app/room sensor tools to be analyzed by companies to find out which rooms are being occupied and when, as well as which spaces are most popular.
Robin has been beta testing its product mainly at its own office but also has worked with News Corp in New York City as well as the Boston incubator/night club Blade.
News Corp used Robin to do room and desk booking; once an employee at NewsCorp puts their ID on a desk, it books the shared desk space. At Blade, wristband sensor are used to play a users favorite song while entering the space and also lights up the ingredients of their favorite drink at Blade’s bar.
I asked Dunn about how Robin could potentially be misused by employers to track a worker’s whereabouts at all times. He said the app is an opt-in experience and the products are first and foremost for improving employees lives.
“That’s who’s got to really care about this,” he said. “The overarching thing is that you can make it easier by removing all the manual tasks that they have burdened employees just by having an app on your phone.”
Atlas Venture partner Jon Karlen said that the possibilities for Robin’s workspace experience are enormous in an era when the Internet of Things and the connected house are becoming more of a reality.
“We are really excited about smart offices,” he said. “The AV nightmare that Robin will solve, for example, knowing that the presentation that you are about to present is already queued up, that single application will pay for that right off the bat for many companies,” Karlan added.
Dunn said that the new funding will be used for adding new team members to Robin and expanding the number of offices that use its products. Currently, Robin has 15 employees.
At the end of the day, however, the company wants use the seed funding to make life for employees better by, as Dunn said, making “all people’s days more seamless because they won’t have to do manual task that shouldn’t be manual.”