HRtech startup Mesh aims to simplify communication in the modern workplace

Founded in May 2020 during the peak pandemic period, Mesh is a SaaS-based modern performance management and HR tech platform which counts a wide pool of modern soon-to-be unicorns and unicorns across sectors as its clients, including ShareChat, CRED, Groww, Pipefy and others.
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For all the flak social media receives in the modern world, it is undeniable that it is something that helps connect people worldwide. Having a virtual community helps users communicate, share and become a part of each other’s life, often leading to the strengthening of professional relationships, a must in today’s digital workplace.  

With this aim in mind, Gaurav Chaubey, Saurabh Nangia, and Rahul Singh launched Mesh in May 2020. The San Jose, California-based HRtech startup with Indian operations in Gurugram, has built a social performance management platform for modern companies. 

It enables managers and HR leaders to track employee performance and give feedback continuously, even in a remote working setup. The advanced features of the platform enable continuous feedback and OKR monitoring for each employee even in a remote setting, which in turn aids their productivity and goal attention, benefitting the company as a whole.

In April 2022, the startup raised  $11 million in Series A funding to focus on building a global team for further expansion in the US and APAC markets. Mesh had secured $5 million in seed round July 2021.

Its investors include RTP Global and Liquid2Ventures, along with Sequoia’s Surge.

Since 2021, Mesh claims to have witnessed a 16x growth in its revenue. 

“When we first started out, we weren't actively seeking funding. However, our early investors saw the impact we were creating, and decided to double down to fuel our expansion plans. Our vision is to make the working hours of each employee productive and to create engaged and high-performing teams. We want more and more corporates to use the platform, so that they are able to grow at their full potential, while also enabling a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment for their employees,” says Saurabh Nangia, Founder and CEO, Mesh, in a chat with YourStory. 

Blending social media analytics in HRtech

Mesh is available for companies on a per-employee model. With a lot of startups as their clients, Mesh provides customised solutions for the firm’s needs. “When building Mesh, we thought about the end-users, the employees that will actually be using the platform. It was our vision to make the platform easy to use,” says Saurabh. The startup’s major clientele include startups, necessitating customised features for remote employees. 

 

Mesh’s internal social network for remote-first companies makes it easy for employees to accomplish their goals and get timely feedback. The social network has three main components: a social feed, a task panel, and a scoring system. It follows a familiar UI to most social media platforms, with features such as a like button, an option to comment, adding gifs and emojis to the posts on the social feed so everyone can engage with the public posts. 

“We also added the option to add hashtags which are custom to a company’s core values or competencies. This was to aid in the analytics process when attributing which employee is engaging in those particular competencies more, or where they might need help. The scores on each of the values are used to generate a percentile for each employee, which tells them how they rank among peers with regards to a particular cultural value,” Saurabh says.

The founder claims this performance data along with feedback is beneficial for leaders when they’re running their performance review cycles. The analytics also helps in avoiding biased reviews that may occur due to a recency or latency effect as all the data for their quarterly/annual review is present on one screen, along with feedback they received for it from their peers and managers. 

 

“Our integrations with platforms such as Jira, Slack, Salesforce, Gmail, among others, helps employees gather feedback in the flow of work rather than having to take extra time or log in to Mesh to receive that feedback,” states Saurabh.

Standing out through communication 

The pandemic saw organisations having to rethink and re-do organisational processes with a digital-first approach. So, while there has been an uptick in recruitment tech, onboarding, training, and workflow management platforms, there has been a lesser focus on dedicated platforms for building employee engagement, and platforms that enable self-expression and two-way conversations. Especially in a remote environment.

“These are exactly the issues that Mesh addresses,” Saurabh says.

“Traditionally, our competitors are existing HRIS platforms with form-based modules. Globally, there are firms that offer services that are like Mesh, such as Culture Amp, 15Five, Lattice and Small Improvements. However, in India, Mesh is the only platform that integrates SaaS and artificial intelligence in performance management,” claims Saurabh.

The team

Saurabh and Rahul are serial entrepreneurs in the enterprise technology space, and have previously founded two SaaS-based ventures focused on providing AI and data intelligence solutions. Gaurav has  a consulting background. Before Mesh, Rahul and Saurabh were creating a marketing personalization automation platform, while Gaurav was with Grant Thornton India LLP in the human capital advisory team.

Mesh currently has a team of over 50 employees. 

The way ahead

According to Fortune Business Insights, the size of the HRtech market was $22.89 billion in 2020, expected to reach $35.68 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 5.8 percent in the 2021-2028 period. 

“Particularly in APAC, new age performance management is still at a nascent stage and is full of opportunities. This gives Mesh the first-mover advantage and we see great potential in this market,” states Saurabh. 

He adds that the platform is used by over 1,000+ teams across five continents, and its portfolio of clients includes Indian startups such as CRED, Trell, ShareChat, CoinDCX, Meesho and US-based companies CleverTap, Pipefy and Drip capital etc.

“Our vision is to enable 30 million people to achieve their full potential at work by 2030,” says Saurabh.

Mesh was started with a $150,000 investment from YCombinator in May 2020 to transform the employee management space. 

Being a remote-hybrid company that started in the middle of a pandemic, Mesh faced a lot of challenges.

“One of those was for us to release one version of the product which had all the different modules to give customers a comprehensive and exhaustive view of the performance and feedback of their employees. We always take feedback from our customers very seriously, and strive to deliver their requests in a long lasting and scalable manner, in a short span of time,” Saurabh says.

Asked whether they use the platform internally, Saurabh says, “This question also comes up in our conversations with potential buyers, and it fills us with great pride when we showcase our own company's account to explain how we use Mesh internally as well. Secondly, it really motivates our employees when they share positive feedback on projects they work on. Using Mesh internally also helps us to drive our own values, and create that culture we're trying to build for our existing as well as future employees.”

Edited by Anju Narayanan

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