Butter, a startup registered in Denmark but operating fully remote, is building an “all-in-one” platform for planning and running virtual workshops.
Offering video software and other features dedicated to workshopping, the idea is to pull people away from using more generic tools, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, which, arguably, aren’t well suited to workshops. It’s also an idea that will be welcomed by many remote workers trapped in a groundhog day full of back-to-back Zooms — and one that has already attracted venture capital.
Backing Butter’s seed round of $2.75 million, which is being disclosed today, is Project A. Others investing in the burgeoning startup are Des Traynor, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Intercom (amongst other angels). It adds to $440,000 previously raised through a mix of equity funding from Morph Capital, venture debt from The Danish Growth Fund and grants from Innovation Fund Denmark.
Butter co-founder and CEO Jakob Knutzen tells me that workshop facilitators, such as strategy consultants, HR trainers and design sprinters, typically have two problems: technical overload and a lack of energy in the workshops.
The former includes having to juggle too many tools needed to plan, run and disseminate a workshop, coupled with unintuitive interfaces and an inability to set up elements of a workshop in advance. The lack of “energy” when delivering workshops virtually is likely a harder nut to define and then crack, but anyone who has taken part in an online workshop has likely experienced it.
“We solve these in two ways,” says Knutzen, “[with an] all-in-one tool that helps facilitators prepare, run and debrief the workshop in one place, [and] a delightful design that supports facilitators in delivering a more human experience… 90% of our users comment on this; Zoom fatigue is real”.
You get started in Butter by creating and setting up a “room,” including optionally creating an agenda, polls and timers, as well as various customisation, such as a welcome page, image and (yes) music. Next, you invite workshop participants via an automatically generated link that can easily be shared.
On the day, participants join directly in their browser and the workshop leader runs the workshop using the agenda they created as the main guiding point. Butter also supports various third-party integrations, such as for white boarding, note taking, etc. After the session, facilitators can access a “recap” in the room overview with a chat transcript, recording and poll results, etc.
Adds the Butter CEO: “Down the line, we’ll make this even more ‘full workshop flow’ — [including] more of the planning part, having a full pre-workshop space for participants, building out the post-workshop experience, etc. But for now, we’ve doubled down on making the ‘during’ part flow smoothly”.
To that end, Butter is yet to monetise, but will adopt a SaaS model. Meanwhile, Knutzen cites competitors as established but generalist platforms, such as Zoom and Teams; legacy specialist platforms, such as Adobe Connect and Webex for Training; and other startups trying to solve the same problem (e.g. Toasty.ai, circl.es and VideoFacilitator).
“We differentiate ourselves by being laser focused on workshops,” he says.
This post first appeared here: https://techcrunch.com/2021/04/08/butter/