Rhythms founder Vetri Vellore (left) and Madrona Venture Group Managing Director S. “Soma” Somasegar. (Madrona Photo)

Seattle tech veteran Vetri Vellore is launching a new startup with a big vision to help companies improve their productivity and backing from investors who funded his former venture.

Rhythms emerged from stealth mode Thursday, announcing a giant $26 million seed round co-led by Madrona Venture Group and Greenoaks with participation from Founders’ Co-op, Accel, and Cercano (formerly Vulcan).

The Seattle-based company is building a platform that connects to various systems inside a company and uses new breakthroughs in AI, such as large language models, to analyze a company’s “rhythms,” or habits and patterns — monthly business reviews, quarterly retrospectives, weekly cross-functional meetings, etc.

It aims to answer why some teams in the same organization perform better than others, and offer recommendations to boost output, using findings from both internal processes and best practices at other companies.

Vellore previously founded and led Ally, which helped companies monitor their Objectives and Key Results (OKR), a popular framework for running teams and businesses. Microsoft acquired the startup in 2021 and Vellore spent the past two years as a corporate vice president at the Redmond tech giant.

Vellore also founded Chronus, which built digital tools for employee development programs, and sold it to a private equity firm in 2015.

He told GeekWIre that Rhythms is a culmination of his past three decades building technology to make companies and their employees more efficient and happy.

“I’ve been searching for the holy grail, the real heart of productivity,” he said in a phone interview Thursday.

Rhythms aims to help companies that are tightening budgets but still trying to achieve sustained growth with the same or less headcount. Other trends, including shifting collaboration practices as a result of hybrid work and siloed data from different software tools, could be tailwinds for Rhythms.

Vellore said Rhythms aims to be complementary to platforms such as Microsoft 365 — the company has an “amazing partnership” with Microsoft, he said.

Asked about potential privacy concerns, Vellore said Rhythms analyzes performance on a team level, versus individual employees.

S. “Soma” Somasegar, managing director at Madrona, believes Rhythms will be a category-creating company.

“Vetri has been thinking about this problem for a long time,” he said. “It feels like all the stars are aligning now.”

Rhythms has five employees across Seattle and India. It will use the funding to grow its team and launch a product preview later this year. The company does not yet have paying customers. It is targeting companies of various sizes across different industries.

Source: Geek Wire


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