Forbes '30 under 30' entrepreneurs raise $3M for remote work productivity startup backed by Meta – GeekWire

Forbes ’30 under 30′ entrepreneurs raise $3M for remote work productivity startup backed by Meta – GeekWire

LifeAt Spaces workers, from left: Devin Ajimine, Ashika Mulagada, Pouya Rad and Marisa Chentakul. (LifeAt Spaces Photo)

After greater than a yr of remote work, Devin Ajimine and his buddies couldn’t discover a productivity device that may assist them keep targeted.

So they determined to construct one themselves over a weekend.

“We threw it up on TikTok, then it went viral a number of occasions,” mentioned the 25-year-old Seattle entrepreneur and Hawaii native.

The device they showcased, known as LifeAt Spaces, was seen and shared thousands and thousands of occasions on numerous social media platforms. Viewers had been immediately drawn to the idea: Consolidating and organizing a set of productivity instruments onto a single platform, letting customers create their very own digital workplace from a browser or desktop app.

Ajimine mentioned the objective is to eradicate cluttered desktops. That thesis struck a chord: the app has been downloaded greater than one million occasions.

LifeAt graduated from high startup accelerator Y Combinator final summer season, serving to convert a weekend challenge right into a full-fledged firm.

The startup has drawn consideration from some notable traders, together with a venture arm of Facebook mum or dad Meta. Myspace co-founder Aber Whitcomb can also be a backer, along with YC, Pioneer Square Labs, the enterprise arm of Line mum or dad Z Holdings, Pack Ventures, Goodwater, SV Tech, and Pioneer Fund.

As an early-stage client startup led by younger entrepreneurs, LifeAt is a rarity in a Seattle tech ecosystem dominated by enterprise software program or longtime Amazon and Microsoft leaders.

“When we first hit the million customers, that was fairly transformative,” Ajimine mentioned. “It’s like, ‘Okay, individuals are actually desirous about what we’re doing.’ Now, can we construct a platform that may be scalable to turn out to be a billion-dollar enterprise?”

Before founding LifeAt, Ajimine labored as a product supervisor at T-Mobile. He teamed up along with his former University of Portland pc science classmate Pouya Rad, 27, who labored as an engineer at Vimeo, and Marisa Chentakul, 25, who beforehand was a product designer at TikTok. Founding engineer Ashika Mulagada, 23, is a former software program engineer at Capital One.

All 4 members had been not too long ago featured on Forbes’ 30 under 30 listing.

LifeAt’s office productivity device set to “Japan lofi vibes.” (LifeAt screenshot)

LifeAt customers select from a collection of “areas” to set as their digital backdrop, starting from a espresso store to a simulated Zoom call with Zac Efron. Users can add a soundtrack, publish a to-do listing, share a calendar, and set a Pomodoro timer — multi functional area. They also can invite buddies into their digital workplace, establishing video calls to hang around in.

The startup companions with digital creators to design the digital areas. One of its most high-profile collaborators is Lofi Girl, a preferred YouTube channel that creates beats for stress-free and finding out.

Julie Sandler, managing director at PSL, mentioned the product has seen “exponential adoption” from customers all around the world who use it each day to remain disciplined with their work. She added that a number of members of her group are “considerably obsessed” with the app.

“I’ve LifeAt up on my second monitor on a regular basis,” she mentioned.

The shift to remote work introduced a rush of recent startups aiming to deliver facilities and capabilities of the workplace or campus to houses. So-called virtual co-working spaces thrived, serving as a digital WeWork of types for college students and employees who craved a setting of social interplay and accountability from having others current.

Examples embody Focusmate, which randomly pairs strangers on the platform for research classes, and Seattle startup Spot, which builds digital workplaces for corporations.

Ajimine mentioned LifeAt differentiates from opponents as a result of individuals can make the most of the platform with out counting on different customers. He considers YouTube to be a important competitor.

While the pitch for LifeAt’s digital areas might sound familiar, Ajimine insists that it’s not a metaverse device. “It’s virtually just like the bridge to that 3D setting,” he mentioned concerning the similarities. “But you continue to get to apply it to issues that you simply’re used to — like your pc.”

Last month, the corporate reported greater than 35 million minutes of person engagement. It additionally attracted practically 83,000 members to its chat room on Discord.

Ajimine mentioned one of many greatest challenges to date has been changing LifeAt’s customers into paid subscribers. While the app is free to start out, the corporate has a “premium” model, which prices $9 for a month-to-month subscription or $72 for a yr.

Some of the paid options embody limitless notes and video calls. The startup declined to say what number of of its customers are paid subscribers.

LifeAt is concentrated on shoppers for now, however the objective is to evolve and goal companies as effectively, Ajimine mentioned.