Open Home Office (YC S17) Raises $7M To Bring Office Distractions To Remote Workers Nationwide
June 21, 2017
PALO ALTO - Enjoy working from home, but yearn for the interminable stimulation and irritation of an open office? There's an app for that.
Open Home Office, a phone app that brings the annoyance and distractions of open office layouts to anywhere someone is working, announced this week they successfully closed their Series A at an undisclosed valuation. The round, led by Andreessen Horowitz, is a stamp of legitimacy on yet another startup's foray into a market aiming to serve the growing segment of remote workers in the software industry. The company indicated the newly raised funding will be primarily used to grow their team and enhance their already robust featureset.
Leonard Robinson, the company's CEO, described in an interview how important it was for the company to accurately replicate being shoved into a crowded pit of software development chaos. "The industry has spoken: open office plans are here to stay, but remote work is increasingly attractive as an alternative. Why shouldn't the workspaces of remote engineers be just as much of a nuisance as the company headquarters?"
Available as a web app or on Apple and Android devices, Open Home Office runs in the background and uses sporadic audio, video, push notifications, and vibration to offer a shockingly realistic simulation of an open office. It utilizes a Perlin noise algorithm to generate unique and realistic constellations of hacking coughs, wet sneezes, open mouth chewing, bags of Sunchips being opened, an absent coworker's phone alarm going off on their desk that nobody nearby is volunteering to silence, distant toilet flushes, and soda cans being opened, among thousands of other sound options. It also allows you to create variable numbers of AutoCoworkers, each of which add to the ambient noise with customizable keystroke intensity and keyboard models - right down to the mechanical keyboard switches.
Additionally, Open Home Office prides itself on ConvoGen, a product which uses machine learning to generate conversations based on topics that will maximally distract you when softly spoken in the background. Robinson indicated they are also working with a number of cross-application integrations, such as an email plugin that will simulate a colleague walking up to your desk and asking "did you get my email?".
Open Home Office is also looking into simulation of office disease transmission. They are looking to form partnerships with biotech companies that can directly mail to remote workers strains of common illnesses in WiFi-enabled spritzer bottles that automatically dispense alongside sneezing or coughing audio.