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Ulu Ventures Leads US$3m in Mexican Employee Management Startup Rever

1 September 2020

Ulu Ventures led a US$3m round in Rever, a Mexican employee innovation management platform, with follow-on from Sequoia Capital and Zetta Venture Partners. Sequoia Capital and Zetta Venture Partners first invested US$2.25m in Rever in 2018, in Sequoia’s first known investment in a Mexican startup.

(Contxto) How do the pivoters pivot? That’s what we asked Errette Dunn, co-Founder and CEO of Rever, after he revealed to us that this Mexican startup had raised US$3 million this past June.

New times call for new terminology, so the folks at Rever are calling this their “Seed II” round. That is the second part of their seed stage funding.

The lead investor was Ulu Ventures, who set the price for the round.

Of course, some old names were also present at this round, including Rever’s main investors who are already on the cap table—Sequoia Capital and Zetta Venture Partners from back in October 2018.

Rever is an online platform for Global 2000 companies to engage all their employees in frontline innovation on a daily basis. However, the meaning of innovation changed and sped up with the onset of the global pandemic this year.

Rever was no different, and so as the company negotiated its round, it had to put into practice all this innovative forward-thinking into its own operations.

The Rever round, the pivoter pivots

We’ve talked a lot about how, even if it has become a bit scarcer, funding is still available for those who are worthy.

Your startup might have been born lucky and your solution might have been perfectly suited for a pandemic lockdown. However, we all know that one can suffer from overexertion as well. Just ask many of those overstretched last-mile delivery apps.

Of course, for most companies, the answer isn’t luck but hard work, as one “p” word has led to the next: Pandemic begets pivots.

This what is so fascinating about this particular round raised by Rever. It is a startup that literally specializes in helping people and companies pivot.

What does it mean to pivot as a company when you’re not being faced by a game changer like Covid-19?

Rever’s services look to empower frontline employees to do something about the challenges, opportunities, and plain nonsense they encounter every day at work.

The startup provides the tools to capture ideas, create the methods to tackle them, and bridge to the right people to help solve them. All of this while internally incentivizing the system of constant innovation so that it becomes self-perpetuating.

Everybody wins: the company becomes more profitable, the employees feel innovative and recognized, and the customer base feels the improvements. In Rever’s own words, their system “demystifies improvement and makes it a daily habit for everyone.”

Defending companies as self-defense

For Dunn the pandemic posed a problem and an opportunity simultaneously. They had to protect their customers in order to retain them.

But, part two was just as important. It was not only to retain those customers, “but to expand them and generate so much value, providing such savings and service, and becoming so crucial for them that they would expand their account with us.”

The internal challenge was to enhance their solution whilst not being able to go on site. Rever had to remotely provide support from Mexico to companies in France, Germany, the UK, the US, Brazil, and more.

Pandemic incentives

Often the tragedies we’ve been witnessing are human—not virus—made. Non-compliance regarding mask use has extended lockdowns. Slow to act governments or companies have too. The resulting economic and social strife has gone on to reveal deeply rooted, pre-existing problems within our societies.

The same is true of startups. Solid business models have fared better than flimsy, blue-sky thinking models. Profit has imposed itself over growth at all costs.

But all is not lost. The pandemic indeed does represent an opportunity for reinvention. The trick is to know which startups are pivoting and how they’re doing it. Therefore, the pivoting of a professional pivoter is of great interest.

Consider Rever’s incentive innovation system.

When asked about how it had to adapt to the “new normality” we’re living through, Dunn noted that they not only adapted it but gave it far more precedence within their solution.

The system of incentives clearly not only worked but trickled down to investors, who shortly after would overcome their worries and give Rever its Seed II.