Long before the pandemic, Tribe Co-Founders Tomás Gutiérrez Meoz and Alexander Torrenegra had already founded and managed remote companies. They knew the pain points of trying to achieve the same workplace culture and connections over platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams all too well.
So they set out to create something better, something that could truly encapsulate the best parts of working in an office setting and working from home. This would include the micro interactions from the office on a new level.
“We felt that there had to be a better way to communicate as remote teams, a more human way,” Gutiérrez Meoz said. “Everything that had come before didn’t really do justice to the human experience.”
The RTP-headquartered (but remote-first) startup saw the spark to turn Tribe from a hobby into a real company when nearly the whole world up and went remote in the aftermath of Covid-19, Gutiérrez Meoz said.
“As soon as the pandemic hit, we were like, ‘Oh my gosh, if there was ever a time to push forward and put the accelerator on what we’re building, the time is now,’” Gutiérrez Meoz said.
Now the startup is a new addition to the 2022 Triangle Tweener List.
For an employee using Tribe, they enter a platform that essentially recreates much of the physical environments they would find working in person at an office. With one click, they can invite a coworker into a call, in the same way that you might say something to a coworker by just walking by their desk for a quick question or chat.
There are other communication channels as well, including some that operate like an office kitchen space would in a traditional in-person company.
One of the key ways that Tribe differentiates itself from the array of other remote-working platforms out there is that it eschews long, drawn-out meetings.
While many teams defaulted to having way too many meetings during the day when they went remote, Tribe provides a way for organizations to stay connected without slogging through an hour-long Zoom or Skype ordeal.
“Managers and executives were used to having butts in chairs,” Gutiérrez Meoz said. “They were used to seeing people working and busy, and that was something we lost. The result of that was meeting overload.”
The reason so many companies are now drowning in meetings is because they’ve lost the micro-interactions, the ease of quickly communicating with someone, Gutiérrez Meoz said. With Tribe, they can do this with a quick video message instead of scheduling a time to meet that day or later that week. This is powerful because time wasted in hosting and planning unproductive meetings is what kills momentum, Gutiérrez Meoz said.
Instead, with Tribe, team members can still be spontaneous, send quick voice and video memos and interact with their coworkers in a more human way.
“We don’t want to create a nanny state, like a monitoring tool,” Gutiérrez Meoz said. “We want to recreate that human element so that we can get back to the core human experience and build it together versus being drowning in meetings and all these tools.”
For a while, Tribe has operated in “stealth mode” but now the startup is more fully looking to invite teams to join their thousand users and 50 company customers and counting. So far, Tribe plans to offer its initial product on a freemium business model, with certain features only available for paying customers.
Over time, Tribe has adapted to take a more omni-channel communication solution approach.
“The beauty of building something like this is that you’re learning every single day,” Gutiérrez Meoz said. “The assumptions that you make are challenged, and you have to adapt very, very quickly.”
Tribe has also raised more than $2.6 million in its pursuit of going to market as quickly as possible.
“We’ve doubled down, and we’ve realized how important that whole humanity part is and how we don’t want to just recreate what we had before,” Gutiérrez Meoz said. “It’s how do we take the best elements of when we were in person and how do we take the best elements of digital.”
Setting the right culture in Tribe’s own team has been especially important, said Gutiérrez Meoz, who believes the framework to achieve successful remote working relies on the people, communication, collaboration and presence as well as task management and key performance indicators.
While competitor tools like Slack have already made a name in the remote and general workplace space, Tribe can actually integrate into Slack for easier use.
A key differentiator is also that the workplace is just the beginning for Tribe, Gutiérrez Meoz said. While they’ve started in the remote-working vertical, Tribe aims to deliver more effective communication for all, whether you’re staying in touch with your parents, friends who live far away or anyone else in your life.
“We feel like we can do much better,” Gutiérrez Meoz said, “and we want to build very human, very effective communication for today and tomorrow.”