Can Freshly Funded Fellow Fix Meetings?

For a long time, in-person meetings were the hallmark of working in an office environment. We’ve all been there. Going from conference room to conference room for back-to-back meetings. Sometimes a few a day, sometimes all day long. Then the pandemic hit. And those in-person meetings suddenly moved to Zoom and other virtual platforms.

On top of that, how many meetings are simply a vehicle for the most vocal member of an organization to burn time pontificating about this, that, or the other? Then there’s that meeting that was supposed to begin at the top of the hour but takes 15 minutes to get going. These are all sources of company fatigue. And they may have contributed to the “great registration” that we keep hearing about.

Now a company that launched a couple of years ago, Fellow, has raised a $24 million Series A round to advance its mission to turn those often dreaded meetings into something more productive.  

Unproductive meetings are real and costly. According to co-founder and CEO Aydin Mirzaee, those unproductive meetings can cost $37 billion annually. That data, from a 2019 Business Insider piece suggests a third of all meetings are unproductive. 

Image Credit: Fellow
The Sorry State of Meetings

Here’s how Mirazee described the current state of meetings. “Before when we were all in-person, no one brought any devices into a meeting. And now every meeting is on a device, which has opened up the landscape. It’s crazy to think that people haven’t built software for meetings in the past, but now it makes sense to have a platform across the company to make sure all meetings are productive.”

The company’s SaaS offering provides an “all-in-one” solution that supports in-person and virtual meetings. Like nearly all SaaS solutions, the company offers a free plan — presumably with limited functionality — and a variety of tiers that add users and features as you move up the pricing curve. The features include agenda templates, action item identification, note-taking software, and additional analytics. 

Fellow founders, from left, Aydin Mirzaee, Samuel Cormier-Iijima, and Amin Mirzaee
Following Slack’s Growth Blueprint

Over the last year, the company’s platform hosted more than 2 million meeting agendas for which notes were recorded. The company is on track to quadruple its revenue this year, Mirzaee said. 

Lainy Painter, a partner at Craft Ventures one of the investors in the Series A round pointed to Fellow’s strategy to find a team within a large organization to be the first user of the platform. So by making that a compelling and beneficial experience, Fellow can expand to other organizations within a larger entity. That’s a time-test approach. Many cite the same strategy as key to Slack’s meteoric growth. 

David Shim’s Read Brings Conversational Intelligence to the Age of Hybrid Work

Painter uses the Fellow software. He had this to say about it.

“I see Fellow dominating the meeting management category, we are still in the early stage of shifting to how we will be working with remote work, and though we saw a lot of that move in the early months to a Zoom interface, a lot of optimization was left on the table. The future of work and meetings is adopting new tools that take advantage of being fully remote and not just taking an existing paradigm and replicating it.”

So Fellow certainly has a large market to pursue. The global virtual meeting software market is estimated to be nearly $42 billion by 2027. Having a solution that makes the millions and millions of hours spent in meetings more beneficial for the attendees and the organization could be a very big win. 

Co-founder Mirzaee acknowledges there is competition and said this. “Our vision is to build a meeting productivity product aimed at helping managers have productive meetings and then manage their teams.” 

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