Hi, it’s Alexandre from Idinvest. Overlooked is a weekly newsletter about underrated trends in the European tech industry. Today, I’m excited to share our new investment in Hera which is a productivity tool to make you productive again during your meetings.
We are thrilled to partner with Louise and Bruno in their journey to make your meetings productive again with Hera. Idinvest is leading Hera's €425k pre-seed round together with outstanding business angels including Alexis Bonillo (founder and COO at Zenly), Koen Bok (CEO at Framer), Kourosh Davarpanah (CEO at Inato), William Pambrun (CPO at Inato), Olivier Godement (product at Stripe), Antoine Le Conte (CEO at Cheerz), Marion Bergeret (General Counsel at Alan) and Bao Dinh (our former colleague & productivity guru - he wrote La 25ème Heure).
You can help us to support Hera in two ways:
Hera is looking for beta users who want to test the product and participate in shaping the future of productive meetings. You can register here to join the beta.
The company is also hiring a lead engineer or a product designer. Check both job descriptions. If you can fit or if you know somebody who can fit, don't hesitate to apply or to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Product - Make Your Meeting Productive Again
Hera is a layer on top of your existing productivity tools to launch your meeting, capture key moments and export outcomes in your other tools.
Step 1: prepare your meeting. If your scheduled meeting lasts more than 10 min, you can click on "Prepare in Hera" button which will open the Hera app and prepare your meeting. You will be able to add several agenda items. For each agenda item, you can dig deeper by adding some context relevant to the discussion, like links or insights.
Step 2: launch your meeting. Hera is integrated in your Google Agenda. You can launch a meeting with Hera by clicking the "launch in Hera" button. It will open both your video-conference software and a blank page on the Hera app on which you can write meeting notes right away. You don’t need 5 minutes to start a new Notion’s page for your meeting. Moreover, the metadata (attendees, date, agenda) of the calendar event are automatically included.
Step 3: take notes during the meeting. The goal here is to capture what matters without interrupting the flow of the meeting. While taking notes, you will be able to use shortcuts to highlight certain notes as key outcomes or as next steps. If you feel something is important, you can record an audio snippet that will record and transcribe 30 seconds before and after the moment you decide to record.
Step 4: export outcomes in your other tools. At the end of the meeting, a check-out page will open. You will be able to review the notes taken during the meeting. Automatically, an executive summary with the highlights and next actions will be generated. Once you are done, you will be able to export those meetings notes, highlights and next actions in your tool stack (e.g. Slack, Todoist, Roam, Notion, Asana, Gmail etc.).
We are excited by this product positioning for the following reasons:
Hera is a layer that lives on top of your existing productivity stack. Hera is not another note taking app or another video conference software. You will only use Hera during your meetings and all the information recorded in Hera will be pushed automatically in your other tools through deep API-integrations.
Hera has value both as a single player tool and as a multi-player tool. Hera will start as a productivity tool for individuals because (i) most people take notes for themselves and (ii) individuals can already have a tremendous impact on meetings. Once it has become a ritual for individual users, it will be easy to add viral and collaborative features to the product to be used across organisations.
Hera is built to become a habit forming product. It must become a ritual to (i) start a meeting with the “Launch in Hera” and to (i) end a meeting by completing the checkout and by sending the highlights and next actions to the right places in your toolstack. In order to achieve this, Hera is working hard to remove frictions, to integrate itself flawlessly in your meeting workflow and to give its users compounding value overtime.
The Market - The Rise of Meeting Centric Productivity Tools
Hera is riding a new wave in the productivity space which is the rise of "meeting-centric productivity tools." We all know that most meetings are a scourge. We spend too much time during the week in meetings and most of them are often. With covid, it has gotten worse. Working remotely, we are spending even more time in meetings. It has become harder to communicate and collaborate.
I will just give you some facts to illustrate the pain point around meetings:
Executives spend an average of 23 hours per week in meetings,
71% of executives say that meetings are unproductive and inefficient,
65% of executives say that meetings keep them from completing their own work,
With covid, a person is attending 13% more meetings and there is 14% more attendees per meeting.
A growing number of companies have taken actions to fight against the meeting inflation and the lack of productivity of most meetings. They have implemented guidelines around what makes a good meeting: be on time, set up a meeting only when necessary, come prepared to the meeting, have a clear agenda, have somebody to take notes and send a recap with key highlights and next actions etc. Some companies have even implemented a no-meeting policy.
Personally, I don't think that all meetings should disappear. There are many use cases where meetings are needed: to brainstorm, to make a decision when we need the opinion of other people, when we want to announce a difficult thing or when we want to kickstart a new project etc.
Nonetheless, it’s clear that we need to build healthier habits around our meetings. This is great because we notice the rise of tools that are only tackling the issues around meetings. These tools don't pretend to replace the other tools in your productivity stack (a note taking app, an agenda, a video conference software etc.). They just want to make your meeting productive again. Hera is one of these tools.
Covid is a perfect occasion to rethink your tool-stack and your meetings habits. Companies have never been more willing to test new tools and churn from their existing tool-stack. Hence, we believe that it’s a perfect timing to build a “meeting-centric software” like Hera.
Why we Invest?
We are partnering with Hera for the following reasons:
Tier-1 team: we believe that Louise and Bruno are outstanding founders with a deep understanding of the productivity space and a demonstrated ability to bring a product to the market. They previously worked together for 2y at Inato, a clinical trial marketplace between hospitals and pharma companies. They were in a core-team that kickstarted the launch of a new product.
Great execution: in less than 4m (and they were still working part-time at Inato during 3m out of the 4), they did 110+ customer interviews, built a working prototype, onboarded their first cohort of users in a private beta and raised a pre seed round.
Building and owning the new category of “meeting-centric productivity software”: a new tool must emerge to tackle all the specific pain points related to meetings and we are convinced that Hera will become the standard for productive meetings.
The right mindset to build a productivity tool: we did several brainstorming sessions with Louise and Bruno to discuss the product building and the go to market strategies and we were impressed by the choices they made and the plans they have to make Hera successful. They are going to stay in closed beta to iterate quickly towards product market fit. They know that they will only be successful if they manage to build a habit forming product that you use automatically anytime you start a meeting.
Hera will use the funding to build a core team (as I told you they are hiring a product designer and a lead engineer) and to iterate on the product towards product market fit. Obviously, it's a pre seed round. We will be in an experimentation mode for the next few months and the product may evolve compared to what we describe in this article. But we are confident that we are backing a team that has the right mindset and skills to go from 0 to 1!
Thanks to Julia (🦒), Louise and Bruno for the feedback! Thanks for reading! See you next week for another issue! 👋