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Yac

Yac, an online voice messaging platform, has raised $7.5 million in venture funding led by GGV Capital and the Slack Fund, which funded the app last year.

Why it matters: Yac helps companies integrate audio messaging into their workflow. It launched at the beginning of the pandemic and has benefitted enormously from companies needed improved communication during remote work.

Details: The company, which so far hasn't made any money, is focused for now on growth and marketing.

  • It plans to hire for key roles, like heads of revenue, sales and customer success and invest in sponsoring podcasts, newsletters and buying ads. It currently has 9 full-time employees and about 8,000 users.
  • While the pandemic didn't cause the company to shift its product focus, it helped it shift its focus away from having to educate potential users about the benefits of work from home, Yac co-founder and CEO Justin Mitchell tells Axios.
  • "We were doing so much education about remote work and so we were not able to spend time educating people about Yac," Mitchell says. "Once the pandemic hit, we very focused finally about actually talking about the product.

What's next: The company is focusing on making audio easier to use and discover within other apps — mostly workplace tools — like Slack and Asana.

  • That includes notifications, or tools that can translate text messages into voice messages that can be read later.

The big picture: As Axios has previously noted, companies that help other companies communicate, like Slack, Zoom and Twilio, are booming this year thanks to pandemic-driven remote-work. It has been a boon to audio-based communication companies, like Clubhouse, which is raising new funds to fuel its expansion.

  • Even when a vaccine is rolled out and lockdown provisions are lifted, most companies will likely maintain at least some work-from-home flexibility.

Go deeper: Enterprise communication tech companies are booming

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Jan 26, 2021 - Science

Investment in the space industry overcame the pandemic's headwinds in 2020

A SpaceX launch in 2020. Photo: SpaceX

Investment in the space industry continued to grow in the last quarter of 2020, despite the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report from Space Capital.

Why it matters: The space industry turned out to be far more robust in the face of the pandemic than many experts were initially expecting.

Cuomo barraged by fellow Dems after second harassment accusation

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced a barrage of criticism from fellow Democrats after The New York Times reported that the second former aide in four days had accused him of sexual harassment.

Why it matters: Cuomo had faced a revolt from legislators for his handling of nursing-home deaths from COVID. Now, the scandal is acutely personal, with obviously grave political risk.

2 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Children "very likely" to get COVID vaccine at start of 2022

NIAID Director Anthony Fauci. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Children under age 12 will "very likely" be able to get vaccinated for coronavirus at the "earliest the end of the year, and very likely the first quarter of 2022," NIAID Director Anthony Fauci told "Meet the Press" Sunday.

Why it matters: Children generally aren't at risk of serious coronavirus infections, but vaccinating them will be key to protecting the adults around them and, eventually, reaching herd immunity, writes Axios' Caitlin Owens.