TINYpulse, a Seattle-based company that makes HR related software, announced yesterday that they raised $6 million from a group of investors lead by Fargo-based venture capital firm, Arthur Ventures.


TINYpulse provides employee engagement tools built to reduce turnover and boost positive company culture. For instance, they offer weekly one question surveys, platforms for peer-to-peer recognition, anonymous messaging, and engagement data analysis.

Currently they work with over 500 companies (including Microsoft and Amazon).

TINYpulse CEO David Niu recently came to Fargo for Arthur Ventures’ Cultivate.you event, where he shared his thoughts on creating good company culture.

Cultivate you

Niu takes the stage at Cultivate.you, 2015.

Niu said he realized the importance of company culture after starting and closing a company, going on a “careercation,” and returning with the conviction to shift the workplace to be more positive.

Fargo-based e-commerce company dogIDs, which sells personalized dog collars, is a TINYpulse customer. They even received the Happiest Company in 2015 Award.

“It gives you a really good feeling to know the general climate in your organization,” Clint Howitz, dogIDS Pack Leader said. “The weekly question [one question survey] gets you results every week. Once you start seeing trends, you know what you need to address.”

TINYpulse survey

Example of a survey question.

What Niu and others have found is that when employee happiness goes up, the company is more successful. In fact, the idea that positive company culture leads to higher profitability is why Arthur Ventures invested in TINYpulse in 2014, according to partner Andy Christensen.

“In our experience, strong corporate culture and strong financial performance have a direct correlation,” Christensen said. “TINYpulse’s anonymous surveys and peer-to-peer recognition help company leaders turn company culture into a competitive advantage – not something every company has.”

TINYpulse is certainly doing well financially, considering at the end of 2014 they raised $3.5 million – money that Niu says is “still in the bank.” In fact, this Series A round wasn’t just about raising money, Niu said.

“We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to partner with Arthur Ventures and Doug Burgum, who founded and created an awesome culture at Great Plains Software,” Niu said. “For sure, his involvement will allow TINYpulse to grow.”


Burgum, a founding partner in Arthur Ventures, has experience in the HR-tech space from his time as former chairman at SuccessFactors, a cloud-based human capital management (HCM) solution for talent management.

In addition to being an investor in TINYpulse, Burgum serves as Chairman for Atlassian, the software company that went public yesterday and is valued at up to $5.8 billion. (It’s been a good week for Doug, apparently.)

As for the $6 million, Niu said they will use it to reinvest in product and accelerate hiring. It could also go towards launching a new initiative in 2016, he said.

“Just like we disrupted the annual employee survey, many of our customers have asked us to help them reinvent performance reviews,” Niu said.


Photos courtesy of Cultivate.you and TINYpulse.

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Marisa Jackels