An all-purpose ‘people operating system for deskless workers’ has raised £5.2 million seed funding led by Google’s Gradient Ventures.

Sona is described as an easy-to-use platform for managing everything work-related, combining the power of modern workforce management software with a user-friendly experience.

Created for industries that employ deskless shift-based staff – such as health and social care, retail, hospitality and the voluntary sector – Sona lets employees access vital functions such as scheduling, shift allocations, attendance records, and one-to-one and one-to-many communication with a tap.

In just six months, Sona has built and launched its platform to an early set of customers, covering over 10,000 deskless workers within the UK and Ireland, going from pre-revenue to six-figure ARR since incorporating in July 2021. 

The London-based startup has now raised $9m total funding since August 2021. It will use the investment to triple its team, with a particular focus on engineering and product development, and to continue its strong growth trajectory. 

Prominent new angel investors in the round include Anthony Danon (Partner at Cocoa), Maximilian Bittner (CEO at Vestiaire Collective), Graham Paterson (Product Partner at Connect Ventures), Andrej-Nicolai Henkler (CEO at Leblon Capital), Invested (Anna Brandt and Noor van Boven), and Sri Pangulur.

Existing investors also participating include Monzo founder Tom Blomfield, early-stage VC Speedinvest, Andy Leaver (Operating Partner at Notion Capital), Lorenzo Franzi (Partner at Flash Ventures), and several partners from Novator Partners. In addition, Asif Moosani (Investor at Gradient Ventures) and Markus Lang (Partner at Speedinvest) are joining Sona’s board. 

Founded by repeat founders Oli Johnson (Harvard Business School MBA graduate), Steffen Wulff Petersen (ex HelloFresh, Payleven/Sumup and Lazada) and Ben Dixon (CTO), the company currently employs 18 people across ten countries. 

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“The technology gap between desk-based and deskless workers is set to close rapidly over the next decade,” said Johnson. “We believe that the growth of dedicated software for frontline staff will have the same transformative effect as the SaaS revolution had in desk-based work, and we want to be at the forefront of that movement. 

“We’re beyond elated to have the support of world-class investors and customers who share our passion for transforming the world of deskless work.”

Asif Moosani, investor at Gradient Ventures, added: “Workforce management systems were designed for white-collar industries. As a result, these tools ignore a vital part of society – the frontline worker.

“Scheduling, shift management, and surrounding communications are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the ‘great resignation’. 

“Steffen and his team empower frontline workers by simplifying their workflows. We’re excited to back Sona as they bring this ecosystem into the digital age.”