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  • Former ‘LinkedIn for workers’ startup Sample rebrands and revolves around new $2.4M Seed Raid

Former ‘LinkedIn for workers’ startup Sample rebrands and revolves around new $2.4M Seed Raid

The founders of Sequoia Capital-backed Sample have rebranded and changed the company’s focus, raising another $2.4 million Seed round from new investors in the process.

Co-founded in 2021 by former Grab staffers Jascha Zittel and Elliott Gibb, As Sample raised $920,000 in pre-Seed funding in December 2021, led by Sequoia Capital India.

Their original idea was to be “LinkedIn for essential workers”, and a “career headquarters” for industries such as hospitality, retail, warehousing, transportation and logistics, commerce and personal care services.

But it seems the idea didn’t gain the traction they had hoped for, and last year the startup changed course and name. It is now Mercu, an employee engagement platform for the “deskless workforce”, that automates staff communication during onboarding, training and services through the chat apps companies already use, including Whatsapp, SMS/iMessage and LINE. The company is working to introduce FB Messenger, Kakao and Telegram on its platform.

Sequoia Capital India again supported the revamped startup’s new vision in its Seed round, featuring Steve Baxter’s Queensland syndicate fund, TEN13, 500 Global, Flying Fox Ventures, Archangel Ventures and XA Network.

The premise behind Mercu is that 99% of workplace communication tools are built for employees at a desk, and when companies started using them for employees instead of a desk during the Covid pandemic, they didn’t work.

“These makeshift solutions were prohibitively expensive, required email logins and complex implementations, had terrible mobile UX, and were built for tech-savvy users,” the startup says on its site.

“They weren’t made for the geographically dispersed, time-poor deskless workers. So we decided to build Mercu. An advanced solution to simplify desk-free work and make it less stressful.”

Mercu also enables managers to conduct monthly heart rate checks and engagement surveys via chat to gauge employee satisfaction, in addition to automating check-ins, 360-degree reviews and performance reports.

The Sydney-based software startup counts Mexican fast-food chain Guzman y Gomez and African B2C marketplace startup Kapu among its client base.

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