Workvivo, the Cork start-up connecting the future of work

Workvivo is defining the future of work through its groundbreaking employee communications platform.

Almost a year ago eyebrows were raised both sides of the Atlantic when the founder of Zoom – the platform that has become the lynchpin of workplaces across the globe – a certain Eric Yuan, took part in a €500,000 investment in an Irish start-up called Workvivo.

The fact that Yuan – who has a personal fortune estimated at around $3bn – took an interest in this little know Cork company suggested great things like ahead.

“By bringing employees closer together through a dynamic, social experience, we have shown over three years and 130,000+ users that employee engagement increases”

Workvivo has designed an internal communications platform based on the way people are familiar with interacting outside of the workplace, and brought that into a business context.

Keeping the world at work

In a sense this technology has proved prescient for a time where overnight 80pc of the world’s office workers suddenly had to become remote workers because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In May, Workvivo announced a further funding round worth €14.7m led by Tiger Global – investors in Stripe, Uber and Square – with participation from Frontline Ventures and Enterprise Ireland. This has brought the total funding by the company to €16.1m so far.

“Workvivo is a Cork-based technology company that provides an employee communication platform designed to both connect and engage employees across the business,” said CEO John Goulding.

“Gallup Research states that approximately 70pc of employees worldwide are disengaged at work. That’s a massive problem, costing the global economy in excess of $450bn annually. By bringing employees closer together through a dynamic, social experience, we have shown over three years and 130,000+ users that employee engagement increases.

“This increase in engagement leads to higher productivity, retention and acquisition of employees, and simply a more enjoyable working experience as shared by our customers.”

Zion Market Research states that the global employee engagement software market will reach $346m by 2025 with a CAGR of approx. 14pc.

“This is a significant market opportunity that Workvivo intends to target aggressively,” Goulding explained.

How Workvivo works

Man in blue t-shirt beside man in vest.

Workvivo co-founder John Goulding with Xoom co-founder Eric Yuang.

“Cork in particular is seeing a huge increase in start-up companies, possibly tempted here by the lower costs of business compared to Dublin”

As Goulding explains it, Workvivo’s internal communication platform effectively engages employees across the organisation, bringing the goals and values of the organisation alive, creating a culture of recognition, supercharging the communication, fostering a sense of community and belonging, and shining a light on all the positive things happening in the organisation.

“Workvivo has been uniquely designed using ways people are familiar with interacting outside of the workplace. Using Workvivo, employees can read and post content to an activity feed, like, share and comment in the same way they do outside of the working environment, but they can also recognise others through shout-outs, link posts to company goals and values, create community spaces and publish company articles and events.

“The result is a communications experience that employees actually want to use, and a powerful way for businesses to align employees to company goals and cultural values.”

From Cork to the world

Workvivo was founded in 2017 by CEO John Goulding and CTO Joe Lennon, formerly of CoreHR.

This combination of commercial and technical experience was instrumental in getting the company off the ground in the very early stages.

With their extensive first-hand experience in creating successful HR technology, they had come to see the challenge and opportunities evident in employee engagement.

In 2017, they founded Workvivo with the sole mission to build a different employee communication platform geared to increasing employee engagement. 

“Ireland is fast becoming a fertile ground for start-up technology companies,” said Goulding.

“With large tech companies Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook making Ireland their European home, a vast number of start-up tech companies are flourishing due to the influx of talent. Cork in particular is seeing a huge increase in start-up companies, possibly tempted here by the lower costs of business compared to Dublin.”

Focus on the right things

As mentioned, Workvivo raised €14.7m in Series A funding from Tiger Global, Frontline Ventures and Enterprise Ireland.

“It was a tremendous validation of our growth strategy,” said Goulding. “Equally rewarding has been the successful implementation and rollout of WorkVivo across Ireland, UK and US. The client diversity alone is a perfect example of how versatile the platform is and we’re thrilled to be the internal communications partner of choice with businesses ranging from Telus International and Cubic Telecom to Seneca Resorts & Casinos and Staffordshire University.”

In terms lessons learnt so far, Goulding said: “Advice I’d offer anyone in our position is not to overly focus on securing investors as the measure of success rather than focusing on building great product, looking after customers and acquiring new customers. Also, the opposite of the road safety message – ‘lack of speed kills’.”

His advice to fellow founders: “Focus on doing the right thing for customers and the other stuff becomes much easier!”

To stay agile, Workvivo uses its own technology to keep everyone connected, especially during lockdown. “We also use supporting communication tools, marketing automation and CRM tools to optimise the generation of new business opportunities and ensure our prospects have the best experience with us.

“Our Customer Experience team – who work hand-in-hand with our customers – use a variety of project management and tracking tools to ensure streamlined implementations and most importantly to ensure that they have an ongoing stellar experience with us,” said Goulding.

Pictured at top: Workvivo founders CEO John Goulding and CTO Joe Lennon

Written by John Kennedy (

Published: 17 September, 2020