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The Future of Work
October 08, 2019

The Extended Workforce: Our Investment in Utmost

Every company today is an evolving network of work and talent that goes far beyond their own employees — they have an extended workforce of contractors, vendors, staffing firms, freelancers and more.

People are a company’s greatest asset, and increasingly so in the era of the knowledge economy. But with legacy software, companies can’t track, communicate with, or pay 20–40% of the people they work within an increasingly complex and flexible set of relationships, much less manage, measure and empower them. It’s painful, expensive and a manual struggle for companies, and a terrible experience for the workforce.

It was an esteemed, longtime HR executive at a large manufacturer that first explained this problem to me. She said:

“I first started to understand how behind we were in this area of [extended workforce] when our CEO wanted to know, ‘How do we manage the people helping us get work done, the people on our campus that aren’t employees? Who are they?’ But the problem was much more basic than that. We didn’t even know how many non-employees we had. This leads to cost, quality, compliance, culture, administration and security issues. And of course, if you’re behind on production, the most important thing is the delivery issue. How do you ensure your customers get the product they’ve been promised next month? You need skilled, specific talent, stat, and those aren’t in-house employees. This problem is one that gets lost between HR, procurement and IT, because you also need to make all these people productive. We’re so far away from the ‘total talent picture’. And we’re definitely not alone.”

That’s exactly what Utmost is looking to change — so I’m sure you can understand my excitement when I first met Annrai, Dan and Paddy (all former Greylock portfolio founders/execs, to boot). Before starting Utmost, Annrai O’Toole and Dan Beck spent a decade working closely together to bring core HRIS to the cloud as part of the leadership team at Workday, and Paddy Benson modernized the engineering team and technology at Groupon as CTO for Europe. They’re customer-centric, special and passionate technologists on a big mission. They have a uniquely deep understanding of enterprise-quality systems and customer problems, innate entrepreneurial velocity and curiosity, and an unyielding commitment to building consumer-quality experiences.

Systems and tools (or lack thereof) determine organizational architecture, and we think a modern system for the extended workforce is missing. It’s a huge opportunity for Utmost, and we strongly believe this is the best team to deliver on that opportunity. Their early customers validate that. But we also think the opportunity is bigger, and better for all, if that system is designed for the worker, too — a core principle for Utmost, expressed in better workflows, direct tools and services, and a data model built for worker privacy and transparency.

Greylock has led Utmost’s Series A, and my partner Saam Motamedi and I have joined the board. We’re also privileged to welcome Vice-Chairman and former President and COO of Workday Mike Stankey to the Utmost Board, and Workday Ventures as a key partner and co-investor.

Saam and I are thrilled to be part of the journey with Annrai and his team. Join us — job openings here or reach out to hello @ utmost (dot) co!