Gamification Pioneer Tackles Business Goals Management

March 23, 2016, 11:00 AM UTC
Courtesy of BetterWorks

This story was updated March 24, 2016, to clarify Laszlo Bock’s relationship with BetterWorks.

Many companies devote hours to strategy sessions setting annual goals—for revenue growth, new products, process refinements, whatever. Far fewer actually manage those aspirations on a day-to-day basis.

Three-year-old software company BetterWorks, the latest venture from the co-founder of gamification pioneer Badgeville, Kris Duggan, just raised another $20 million in Series B funding to address that dilemma.

Its technology, used by more than 200 companies, including CVS (CVS), GoPro (GPRO), and Schneider Electric (SBGSY), lets managers declare business objectives publicly and report on progress toward them. That information, in turn, can be used to guide ongoing employee appraisals and coaching conversations.

“Simply by making your goals public, you encourage a higher degree of performance,” Duggan told Fortune. He added: “Our customers are saying that this kind of technology can help them get more clarity, alignment, and focus.”

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BetterWorks’ software presents progress visually, through dashboards, as well as through alerts sent to mobile devices or (if you own one) to an Apple Watch. The platform pulls data from other cloud business applications to provide context. It currently connects to JIRA (often used for software development), Okta (an identity management service), Salesforce (CRM) applications, the Slack business messaging platform, and human resources systems from SAP SuccessFactors and Workday.

BetterWorks’ latest round brings its total funding to $35.5 million. The 75-person company isn’t disclosing the valuation, but the lead backer is the relatively selective venture firm Emergence Capital, which invests in just a half-dozen business software startups each year. Existing investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and 8VC also have ponied up more money.

“What I think is important about this company, and potentially transformational, is that it actually automates the business of doing business,” said Jason Green, founder and general partner of Emergence, who was named to the BetterWorks board as a result of this investment. Other advisers include legendary venture capitalist John Doerr and Google’s chief human resources officer, Laszlo Bock.

Duggan’s motivation for starting BetterWorks, which is based in Redwood City, Calif., is eerily similar to that of another serial software entrepreneur making news this week—Omniture founder Josh James, who is now fronting cloud business software company Domo.

Read more: Upstart Domo unleashes real-time business management dashboard

In effect, both craved much deeper—and timely—access to business performance metrics while they were running their first startups. “I originally set out to develop a Fitbit for work,” Duggan said.




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