Sarah Allali, Co-founder & CEO
Moone (formerly Think Confluent) is part of the 2021 class of the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars. The 12-week accelerator helps startups in connectivity, media, and entertainment grow their companies and develop partnerships with Comcast NBCUniversal.
Sarah Allali and Nicolas Cabrignac have been working together for years. They get along great but have very different working styles. It made them curious why managers attempted to motivate them in the exact same ways.
“I am really controlled and organized. Nicolas is easy-going and experimental. I am outgoing. He likes solving problems individually,” said Allali. “It made us wonder why some leaders use a one-size-fits-all management style.”
As they explored the problem further, they found that most managers don’t have time or resources to develop different plans for different employees, especially when supervising large groups of workers. Plus, employees don’t have efficient ways to deliver honest feedback to management.
It’s having a significant effect on employee retention—which has emerged as a massive challenge in today’s workplace. In fact, one in four employees quit their jobs in 2021, according to a recent study. Plus, younger workers demand positive work experiences, work/life balance, and managers who help them develop individualized career paths.
“Employees are not interested in making concessions,” said Allali. “Especially after COVID, they know what they want from a work experience and will switch jobs to get it.”
It led Allali and Cabrignac to launch Moone, an artificial intelligence tool that builds a personalized work environment for each employee. Employees answer straightforward questions on topics like workload, work/life balance, and productivity. Moone automatically generates a report for management showing the team’s top goals and challenges. It also analyzes the sentiment and tone behind the responses to understand how the team is truly feeling.
“With our tool, managers get precise, concrete information about what people want in minutes,” said Cabrignac.
The startup is targeting companies with 50 to 500 employees. They can be fast-growing startups or more established companies hoping to modernize management practices. Moone empowers managers to poll employees in two ways: a weekly checkup with open-ended questions or a custom poll about critical topics. All answers remain anonymous. Moone uses the data to develop action plans for employees, managers, and HR professionals so they can improve the work experience for everyone.
Better People Management = Higher Retention Rates
With Moone, companies can address employee needs quickly, leading to higher retention rates.
“As companies pivoted to remote work during the COVID crisis, it showed workers that their employers have the power to make big changes. Now they want management changes,” said Cabrignac. “We know that if managers meet employees’ individual needs, employees will stay at their jobs longer.”
The startup also helps companies manage increasingly remote workforces. In a physical office, workers can casually chat with managers to share concerns or needs. In remote settings, communication only happens in formal meetings. Moone can help bridge the disconnect.
“Being remote increases the need for people to have a safe space to share their opinions,” said Allali.
Many managers strive to do better but don’t know where to start. It leads many to offer surface-level solutions that don’t move the needle.
“Employees want a positive environment for their mental health, a voice in the company, good communication well, and great team relationships,” said Allali. “It’s so much more than having a ping-pong table and smoothie bar. That comes after the most important needs are satisfied.”
Bitten by the Startup Bug
Allali spent much of her education and career studying neuroscience. She is particularly interested in motivation and success. She also worked at Airbnb, where she was bitten with the startup bug.
“I felt the startup mindset in the workplace. We were trying a lot of new things and moving fast. It was so different from my previous experiences and really inspired me to launch a company on my own.”
Another catalyst was hearing parents and family friends lament years sacrificing personal time for work.
“It really breaks my heart. I think people are always focusing on their work and less on individual private needs,” said Allali. “If people can stop making concessions at work, I would be really happy because I don’t want to make these concessions either.”
Cabrignac spent his career studying cognitive science and entrepreneurship. Like his co-founder, Cabrignac is passionate about human behavior, motivations, and how neuroscience explains these phenomena.
“Understanding people and their individuality is the root of the problem we are solving,” he said. “For too long companies have just considered that people had the same needs, and didn’t take into account their individual diversity.”
He chose startup life because he just couldn’t see himself doing something else.
“I didn’t want to have a boss. I like to build my own path,” he said. “I don’t fear uncertainty. I am ready to try things, ready to fail, ready to start again. I am very creative and love to solve problems in a way people didn’t think about before.”
Moone has a waitlist with hundreds of businesses hoping to use the product — from startups to Fortune 500 companies. In the next six months, they will be fundraising, expanding their team, and iterating on the product offering. In the future, they hope to rise above other employee engagement software in the market and become the go-to solution.
“We want to be the provider of choice for startups and other businesses hoping to get more from managers and keep people engaged and improve talent retention,” said Cabrignac.