Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Tomfoolery’s Anchor App Is About Workplace Social, Not Productivity

“The rhetoric we’ve been fed is: This is business, not personal. No. It’s all personal. I spend more time with these people than my husband or kids,” said Kakul Srivastava, the CEO of Tomfoolery and former general manager of Flickr.


Tomfoolery CEO Kakul Srivastava

“People talk about consumerization of IT, but then they’re building, at best, third- or fourth-rate copies of stuff that was built six years ago. We’re trying to build the consumer-grade solution for people at work. People at work deserve tools that are awesome.”

You don’t usually hear that kind of passion about corporate software, but Srivastava has it in spades. She and her team have built a social application for the workplace called Anchor, which launches today on Web and iPhone, and is coming soon to Android and Google Glass.

The app is mobile-first, but not mobile-only, and serves as a combination of message board, photo-sharing feed, group chat room, one-to-one chat thread and address book. It’s built around intersecting teams, which could be functional — the bug-report thread — or fun — the office running club.

mobile_activity_feed_IDIt’s not quite clear to me whether Anchor replaces an existing tool or adds a different dimension to work. From the sound of it, Srivastava would like Anchor to replace Yammer and Chatter, but live alongside something more specifically functional, like Asana.

“The reality is, we spend most of our time at work doing work by talking to people, forming relationships, giving feedback, deepening the bond that makes great teams great — not making spreadsheets. We’re much more about conversations at work than we are about work tasks,” she said.

“These companies talk a lot about collaboration; we use the word ‘friendship.’ We think friendship has ROI.”

Tomfoolery is free for now, but will cost money in the future, with the addition of more features and apps. Companies that sign up before Sept. 25 — which happens to be the birthday of co-founder Sol Lipman, the former VP of mobile at AOL — will get the app free forever.

San Francisco-based Tomfoolery was founded last year, and raised $1.7 million from investors including Morado Ventures, Sutter Hill Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and AME Cloud Ventures.

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