Why We Invested: Epoch
The Employee Experience Platform Built for the Future of HR
The pandemic created monumental shifts in how people work, communicate and build community. The success of remote work has helped us reimagine how and where work gets done, but it’s also created a new set of challenges for HR leaders as they seek to attract and retain top talent and build a healthy company culture.
Epoch is creating an avenue for companies to take HR remote and deliver world-class company culture, regardless of where their employees are geographically located. Rally Ventures led its $3.6 million seed round, with participation from Precursor Ventures, Turner Novak, m]x[v and Maschmeyer Group Ventures.
The company was co-founded by siblings Jade Choy and Keith Choy and their close friend from college, Mike Miller. We’re excited to welcome the talented Epoch team into the Rally portfolio and support them as they build a platform to power the future of HR.
Below is a short Q&A with Co-Founder and CEO Jade Choy. Welcome, team!
1. What is Epoch and what core problem does it solve?
Epoch is an employee experience platform. We work with companies to help manage and run their internal programs and events. This includes everything from manager training to onboarding workshops to town halls.
Epoch integrates with the everyday tools teams use, so events are easy to automate and discover. The platform also makes it easy for employers to measure employee sentiment and decide which events to carry forward based on the analytics generated by ongoing campaigns.
There are so many conversations happening around the evolution we’re seeing in the workforce with the rise of remote work and The Great Resignation. HR teams also need to evolve to meet the needs of their employees. Epoch helps HR teams, who are often already running great employee engagement programs, make their offerings automated and accessible.
We really saw the need for Epoch to accelerate during the pandemic as teams were scrambling to switch to remote. Employee engagement has always been a challenge, but with the rise of remote work employers are understanding how important it is to facilitate those connections.
Another challenge Epoch solves for HR teams is tool fatigue. It’s a positive thing that there are so many tools in the B2B SaaS space, but it can also be overwhelming. Epoch aims to unify the employee experience and maximize the tools already at our disposal. The goal is to meet employees where they already are — which is largely Slack, email and their calendar.
2. The initial idea was for Epoch to be a social platform. How did the idea come about and how did Epoch evolve into the platform it is today?
Epoch started out with more of a social impact mission. My co-founders and I have always been passionate about creating ways for people to connect meaningfully. We initially started out by offering workplaces a way to connect their employees to nonprofits and volunteer opportunities.
Our thought was that not only is this good for the community by bringing more awareness to the great causes available, but it’s also good for employees to connect with each other and with their local communities.
Postmates was one of our first customers to suggest that we expand beyond community involvement. They loved the platform and wanted to use it to support all their employee engagement programs, which sparked the idea to expand Epoch. We know how crucial cultural offerings are to companies, so why not support them all?
3. Epoch has already built a strong customer base of companies like Asana, Hinge and Instacart. What are some of your favorite use cases for how HR teams are using Epoch to deliver world-class culture in a remote world?
There are so many great examples of how people use Epoch. The first example I’ll highlight is DEI workshops and speaker panels. I especially love the companies that highlight their own employees and give people a platform to talk about their experiences and how they’ve navigated their career. These are so fascinating and usually very highly attended. It’s great to see companies investing dollars into encouraging these discussions at their companies.
The second example is learning and development programs. I’ve seen companies bring in speakers around financial literacy, mental health and management training. People are interested in learning and growing, and we’ve seen increasingly high demand since the start of the pandemic.
The third example I love to see is onboarding events. Companies are using Epoch to organize new employee training and experiences. This is exciting because it means companies are taking employee onboarding seriously and want their new employees to get involved in company culture and activities right away — and they’re using Epoch to accomplish that goal.
4. What do you do when you’re not at work? How do you unplug?
My brother (and co-founder) and I both like boutique fitness, like pilates and yoga. Another thing we love to do is play tennis. We’ve been playing together since we were kids, and it’s a great way for us to catch up outside of work. We did a lot together growing up — swimming, piano lessons, art classes — and I’m glad we’re able to continue the tradition as adults.
I also love to run and listen to music. I don’t get to listen to music a lot since I’m always on calls, so this is a great way for me to unwind.
We also talked to Jessi Howard, Rally’s Chief People Officer, to get her thoughts on Epoch:
I’ve been having so many discussions with other HR leaders about the shifts we’re seeing in the workforce. Most HR teams I know have adopted a hybrid model. I don’t foresee most offices going back to being fully in person, and platforms like Epoch are now essential tools.
We’re all looking for ways to engage our teams, which now have the added challenge of including a largely remote or hybrid workforce. There’s also been a shift over the past few years in what employees are looking for. People no longer want the virtual happy hours. They want more meaningful engagements. I routinely get asked in interviews about what companies are doing for diversity and how they’re involved in the community. Epoch makes it possible for busy HR teams to provide great engagement opportunities that employees actually want.
The other unique thing about Epoch is how it measures engagement. When you’re planning activities for your team, there historically hasn’t really been a way to get data on whether people find what you’re offering useful. The analytics aspect of Epoch is a great tool in running an effective HR department and knowing you’re using your resources and time well.