LinkedIn competitor Polywork lands $28m from Stripe founders and others

16 Sep 2022

Image: Polywork

Peter Johnston’s professional network continues to attract funding from big names in Silicon Valley, with plans to expand its platform further.

Irish-founded collaboration network Polywork has raised $28m in a Series B funding round, as the LinkedIn challenger moves out of private beta.

The round was co-led by Caffeinated Capital and former GitHub CEO Nat Friedman. Other investors included Andreessen Horowitz (A16z) and Stripe founders John and Patrick Collison.

These investors also backed Polywork’s Series A round last year, which raised $13m for the company from a wave of prominent entrepreneurs and investors.

Founded in 2020, Polywork is a professional network for ‘multi-hyphenates’, or people who pursue multiple passions beyond a single job.

While based in the US, the company was founded by Peter Johnston, a Google alum originally from Carrickfergus in Co Antrim. Johnston set up the freelancer-management software outfit Kalo (previously known as Lystable) in 2015.

Polywork launched as a beta in April 2021 and announced a $3.5m seed round the following month. Observers and early users described the platform as a blend of LinkedIn and Twitter, and Johnston has made clear his desire to provide an alternative to the Microsoft-owned professional networking giant.

“What Polywork does is really simple – it helps people discover opportunities to collaborate with other professionals, outside of their 9-5,” Johnston said. “There are literally thousands of ways professionals collaborate today yet existing networks focus on connecting people in only one way – full-time work.”

“If LinkedIn was built for the 9-5 generation, we are built for the collaboration generation.”

The latest funding round brings the company’s total amount raised to $44.5m. Polywork said it plans to invest in building out its platform and growing its team.

Polywork also plans to introduce a private beta of Clubs, which are dedicated group spaces designed to drive collaboration among professionals based on their passions.

“Online professional networks are stuck serving an idea of what work looked like two decades ago,” said A16z general partner Sriram Krishnan, who joined Polywork’s board last year. “There is a big white space to fill to create a platform that reflects how people work and collaborate today.”

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic