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Smart calendar tool Clockwise raises $45M to help remote teams avoid burnout using AI – TechCrunch

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Clockwise, a time management and smart calendar tool, has raised $45 million in Series C funding led by Coatue, with participation from Atlassian Ventures and existing investors Accel, Greylock Partners and Bain Capital Ventures. This latest round brings the company’s total amount of funding raised to $76 million. Clockwise uses artificial intelligence to help teams free up their workdays and avoid the challenges associated with remote and hybrid workplaces, such as burnout.

The company was founded in 2016 by Gary Lerhaupt, Matt Martin and Mike Grinolds. The trio met while working at RelateIQ, a company Salesforce bought for $390 million in 2014. They found that they shared a common goal, which was to create a way to give people more time for focused work.

“Clockwise is the solution to the modern workday,” Clockwise CEO Matt Martin told TechCrunch in an email. “Clockwise optimizes your team’s schedules to create more time in everyone’s day — so we can feel present when we’re working together and focused when we’re working on our own. We enable a new way of working that genuinely respects people’s time and helps create a healthy, sustainable future of work.”

Since the platform’s launch in 2018, Clockwise has rescheduled 4,000,000 flexible meetings. It has also created more than 2,000,000 hours of uninterrupted “Focus Time” for teams. Focus Time is a feature that helps users visualize how much time they have for focused work by automatically creating a block in their calendars. Clockwise has optimized calendars for more than 10,000 organizations, including Netflix, Twitter, Coinbase, Atlassian, Asana and Airtable.

Image Credits: Clockwise

Clockwise currently competes with several other smart calendar and scheduling tools such as Calendly, Doodle, Reclaim and more. Martin says Clockwise differs from other smart calendar platforms because the company is creating a new category it calls “time orchestration,” a modern way to bring schedules together at the organizational level.

“We’re in the early days of this category, so we mainly compete with people who don’t realize that their attempts to optimize their individual workday can negatively impact their teammates’ productivity,” he said. “The magic of Clockwise is that we orchestrate companies’ workdays, running up to one million calendar permutations for any given team to create the best possible schedule for everyone.”

Clockwise will use this latest investment to advance its AI technology and continue to bring its platform to more teams across the globe. The company is hiring across all of its departments, with 25 open positions and another 100 openings planned for this year.

In terms of the future, Martin says Clockwise will continue to grow and expand to find more ways to free up people’s workdays. He says although Clockwise is currently only designed to manage internal meetings, the platform could dramatically improve the broader scheduling experience in the future.

“We’re investing in advanced AI and ML models to both create Focus Time and power high-quality meetings,” Martin said. “Clockwise has a lot of exciting new products and enhancements ahead, including bringing this new way of working to the hundreds of millions of people using Microsoft 365.”

Clockwise’s Series C investment follows its $18 million Series B funding round announced in June 2020. The round was led by Bain Capital Ventures. The company announced its $11 million Series A investment, which was co-led led by Greylock and Accel, in June 2019.

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To win over investors, use growth as your differentiator • TechCrunch

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So they’ve looked at your pitch deck and you’ve got the intro. Now, you have 30 minutes to win over an investor. What do you tell them? What would be convincing enough for them to buy in? How do you show them what’s possible?

The simple answer: Demonstrate that you are set up to grow.

What is growth in this context? After investing and working with hundreds of startups, our company Seedstars defines growth as the processes in your business that, when put together and optimized, make for sustainable and compounding value over time.

For founding teams and investors alike, it can be incredibly rewarding when the parts of a growth engine work together. Serial entrepreneurs can relate to the joys of mastering cost-effective customer acquisition, onboarding that kick-starts long-term retention and customer service worth talking about. This is one reason why a customer journey map can be particularly useful.

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Baobab Studios unveils Momoguro Web3 collectibles game

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Baobab Studios is taking its animated storytelling into a new platform today as it unveils Momoguro, a digital collectibles game build on Web3 technology.

The company is working on the title with Web3 technology firm ImmutableX, which scales blockchain games for mainstream consumers.

The project was created by designers Nico Casavecchia and Martin Allais. Momoguro is part of Baobab’s continued mission to inspire the world to dream, bring out a sense of wonder, and make people matter through storytelling, said Maureen Fan, CEO of Baobab Studios, in an interview with GamesBeat. (We’re planning on having Fan speak at our GamesBeat Summit: Into the Metaverse 3 online event on February 1-2.)

“Web3 is really exciting for us because it is another medium for us and really aligned with our mission statement, which is to inspire the world to dream, bring out your sense of wonder and make you matter,” Fan said. “And that last sentence, which is make you matter, is what I feel differentiates us from other animation studios out there because we want you the audience to be part of the experience, whether it’s a character or if it just means you’re the community. You actually get to influence what happens and how we build that story. So Web3 was natural for us to be a part of because it really helps with that mission and allowing the community to be on the ground floor.”

A toaster character in Momoguro.
A toaster character that shoots toast in Momoguro.

As with all of Baobab’s franchises, Momoguro is an entirely new universe. Its story and characters transcend any medium and will flow from digital collectibles to the metaverse, TV/film, books and more, Fan said.

In the game, players will collect creatures with unique powers in the fantastical world of Momoguro. In this story-driven world players fuse their collectibles with creatures, called Momos, to gain their abilities and become ultra powerful Momobeasts. Baobab showed a bit of the game at the Art Basel event in Miami.

“I personally am excited about the endless combinations that I can create. Because you have these Momos that have different abilities. And so you’re discovering them in the world. And you get to decide which Momos you want to use,” Fan said. “This fantastical world is just super fun. And I just want to be in it all the time.”

You can also go on quests to unlock clues, discover secrets long forgotten, and unite with Momos to defend the world from the self-serving forces seeking to divide it.

“In an increasingly divisive world, we believe in Momoguro’s message that supports community,” said Fan. “Digital collectibles allow a community to get in on the ground floor in the creation of a new universe. By empowering players to be a part of the game’s story, Momoguro encourages us to believe that we are stronger together.”

Momoguro is a Web3 digital collectibles game.

The move is a pivot for Baobab, which started making interactive films for virtual reality. Baobab’s leaders include Fan, who previously worked at Zynga; Eric Darnell, creator of films like Antz and the Madagasgar series; and narrative technology veteran, Larry Cutler, formerly at Pixar.

But this all fits within the grand plan, Fan said. That’s because the company has always wanted its intellectual properties to reach a wide variety of platforms — not just reside on leading edge platforms such as VR.

“We always thought VR as an entry point in us,” Fan said. “I always wanted to create an animation studio that created characters and stories that went beyond just an individual medium. But VR was super awesome. Because no one had an advantage. VR was technological disruption. So I thought as a way where we could create great stories and characters, and then put those great stories and characters in many different media.”

Maureen Fan is CEO of Baobab Studios.
Maureen Fan is CEO of Baobab Studios.

The Momoguro world and Baobab’s digital collectible game will launch in early 2023, followed by other
digital collectibles, integration with metaverse platforms, and an expansion of the Momoguro franchise
across media and entertainment.

“We are excited to partner with Baobab Studios to enhance their player experience and unlock a new universe of creative play for the community,” said Tim Steudler, head of games business development at
ImmutableX, in a statement. “Digital collectibles are the future of entertainment, and Baobab’s team has a long track record of creating compelling, award-winning stories and characters in worlds where you can be part of the story.”

Part of the reason that Baobab is doing that partnership is that it’s not a Web3 company, Fan said. Alex Tinsman, head of community, said the company did research on Web3 and its own target audience. And it found that its appeal lies with lore-driven communities, Web3 gamers, and enthusiasts. It found some interesting crossovers in that respect. the enthusiasts in particular understood what it means to have a digital identity and digital items, and to truly own your game assets.

Baobab Studios has released eight projects to date; Invasion!, Asteroids!, Jack, Crow: The Legend, Bonfire, Baba Yag, Paper Birds, and Namoo. All received both critical acclaim and commercial success, the company said. The works have been viewed millions of times.

The studio’s IP is currently being adapted into books (MacMillan, Penguin Random House), film
(Roth/Kirsch, Disney), original series with premium streamers, and games.

Baobab used Unity for its VR title The Crow.
Baobab used Unity for its VR title Crow: The Legend.

“We’re always putting our IP in different media because we think that great stories and characters transcend any individual media,” Fan said.

Baobab’s most recent release, Oscar-nominated Namoo, was acquired by Warner 150 earlier this year and is now streaming exclusively on HBO Max.

“We have a kickass game team, which I don’t think we’ve shared with the entire world,” Fan said.

During the past year, the company has hired a number of game developers who worked in the past at Zynga, Wizards of the Coast, Disney, Electronic Arts and more.

As for the metaverse, Fan said it depends on how you define it. It doesn’t have to be about VR, though that can be one part of it.

“The way I define the metaverse is as a digital destination where people hang out and are entertained in a virtual world. That’s how I define it. And so yes, you want both interactivity where you’re having things to do. And you’re connecting with other humans, whether that be your friends or strangers. But you want to do that in a world with great stories and characters. So that’s what we see ourselves doing, bringing the great storytelling structure from films and TV and a lot of the traditional things along with the interactivity of games and having them all in one, one medium.”

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4 Body Language Habits To Be Persuasive

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When it comes to persuasion, likeability is key.

Consider the last time someone persuaded you to do something. Odds are you appreciated and trusted this individual. I would also assume that they did not use pushy language or forceful gestures. And, while you might be unable to pinpoint what they did to persuade you specifically, I’m sure the person was likable.

In 2021, Mariam Younan and Kristy Martire conducted two studies to examine whether an expert’s likeability affected jurors’ opinions in civil and criminal trials. The results were conclusive: less likable experts were considerably less persuasive than likable experts.

Another thing to remember is that you are constantly trying to persuade. You are trying to win people over in almost every interaction with coworkers, potential clients, and friends. This is not manipulative. It is innate and natural. Consciously or subconsciously, you are doing things that make you more or less likable.

Body language is a significant and often unconscious part of likeability and persuasion. This is good news for someone striving to be more persuasive and likable. Lucky for you, you can change many straightforward things about your body language that will automatically enhance your likeability.

Related: How to Tell If Someone Is Manipulating You Based on Their Body Language

Tilting your head

When you feel safe, you naturally tilt your head. The next time you are with close family members or a loved one, observe the number of times someone tilts their head without realizing it. You will also notice that we often tilt our heads when we ‘coo’ at babies.

This behavior is part of our limbic brain response. A head tilt exposes your neck and, therefore, your jugular vein. This puts you in a vulnerable position that becomes a subconscious sign of respect and trust. We display this vulnerability around babies to make them feel at ease. We also send this message to those we love to convey confidence and comfort.

When you seek to persuade someone, they are more likely to see your perspective if they feel safe. Tilting your head is a simple way to demonstrate your attentiveness and care. This simple gesture communicates to other individuals that you are listening rather than thinking about other things.

Isopraxis, or “body echoing,” is a phenomenon where people replicate another person’s body language. If you notice multiple people have their heads tilted in a conversation, chances are they are more engaged, and the conversation will last longer than usual.

Related: 15 Secrets of Really Persuasive People

Standing with legs crossed

If you feel uneasy or unsteady, you presumably plant your feet firmly to maintain balance. This same desire to stay grounded naturally happens, whether near the edge of a tall building or in an uncomfortable social situation. Why?

Both situations above provide a threat that activates a person’s fight or flight safeguards. You will notice that the planting of your feet is one way your body unconsciously protects itself.

The opposite is also true. You will have no problem crossing your legs when you feel totally comfortable. The instability of standing on foot is only possible if you are totally safe. As a result, crossing your legs is another simple way to signify to others that you are grounded and non-threatening.

Isopraxis will also lead the person you are speaking with to mirror you. As they cross their own legs, their defenses will soften. As with head tilting, this action will help a conversation last longer. A longer conversation means more time to communicate face-to-face, which is immensely helpful in building rapport in business and personal relationships.

Related: One Negotiation Expert Shares the 4 Body Language Cues Every Entrepreneur Should Recognize

Simply smiling

Smiling is a powerful charisma builder.

Whether you realize it or not, your emotions are infectious. This includes happiness, which is often transferred through a smile. Just think about it: It is very hard to frown at a smiling person.

When someone smiles, the neurotransmitters associated with lowering anxiety and increasing happiness are released. Therefore, smiling at someone during an interaction improves your own mood, which increases your charisma, and helps the other person feel more positive emotions.

When someone attributes positive experiences or conversations with you, likability and trust increase and individuals will want to spend more time with you and truly listen to you. These attributes will make you a more persuasive person in all your relationships.

In other words, do not underestimate the power of a smile.

Related: How to Be a More Likable and Charismatic Leader

Pointing feet

I have always found it fascinating to watch the direction of people’s feet in social situations. Often, the direction a person’s feet point indicates where their mind is focused. If a person’s feet are pointed at you, this is a great sign that they are interested in what you are saying. However, if their feet are pointed away from you, they are probably close to exiting the conversation or group.

Like the previous body language gestures, pointing your feet towards a person you’re interacting with will also encourage them to continue talking. It is another effective way to signify your interest in the person you are talking to. This will help you persuade them to continue talking.

Try to observe these four natural behaviors in yourself and others. You might be surprised to discover what your body language communicates to those around you. You can use these opportunities to learn more about the people you interact with and how you present yourself. The more likable you can present yourself, the more persuasive you will be.

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