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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.

Fed chair says he isn't concerned by Delta surge

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell at the G20 finance ministers and central bankers meeting in Venice last month. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP via Getty Images

One of the country's most influential economic officials doesn't anticipate that surging coronavirus cases will knock the reopening recovery off course.

What he's saying: "There has tended to be less economic implications from each [coronavirus] wave. We'll see if that's the case for the Delta variety," Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told reporters today.

Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Ubisoft workers demand company accountability in open letter

Photo: Frederic Brown / Getty Images

Close to 500 current and former employees of “Assassin’s Creed” publisher Ubisoft are standing in solidarity with protesting game developers at Activision Blizzard with a letter that criticizes their company's handling of sexual misconduct.

Why it matters: Ubisoft and Activision Blizzard workers are framing the actions as part of a bigger movement meant to have lasting change in the industry and its culture.