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Investing in PINATA & Hayday - Data Collection for the New World

Experiential marketing, a $900B global industry, enables customers to see, touch, and test products in real-time. Brands can form more meaningful relationships with their customers via pop-up shops, live demos, trade shows, and other in-person experiences, all of which can leave a lasting impression in the customer’s mind. Experiential marketing has significantly evolved over the past decade, with up to 30% of a brand’s marketing budget allocated towards in-person experiences. 

However, the tools available to both manage the process and measure results have remained antiquated. This is why entrepreneurs Josh Wand, Ian Ferguson, and Fred Kunda launched PINATA: an end-to-end software solution connecting all stakeholders of the experiential marketing ecosystem (brand, agency, day-of staff, venue, and customers) in a single tool. 

Pre-COVID-19, the PINATA team knew they were following a roadmap for the product that would eventually address enterprise needs well beyond their current market. Once the pandemic significantly impacted in-person experiences, they quickly adapted, realizing it was time to apply their technology to the areas it was needed most. This is why the PINATA team recently launched Hayday, a wellness screening software solution that allows employees to safely return to work and, more broadly, tracks employee wellness and engagement. The software empowers teams to collect critical wellness information and promote a healthy workplace; mitigate legal risk and manage compliance; enforce new protocols around security and on-site traffic; and more.

At M13, we invest in companies that are changing consumer behavior. We recognize the opportunity to modernize the tech stack associated with field marketing, and we’re excited about the endless potential applications that PINATA’s technology offers. While none of us could have predicted COVID-19 and its impact, we knew that this technology would ultimately help serve both consumers and brands in a much bigger way. We’re thrilled to have invested in both PINATA and Hayday, and we’re looking forward to supporting these teams as they continue to provide key stakeholders with critical data and insights. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with founders Josh and Ian to discuss both businesses and what we can expect to see in the months to come. 

Q: Tell us about PINATA’s offerings, and the white space that existed in the marketplace that led you to found the brand. 

PINATA's field marketing platform

Josh: PINATA is an end-to-end software solution for the field marketing industry. It enables global brands to execute complex offline marketing campaigns more efficiently and more intelligently than ever before.

Roughly $1T is deployed globally every year on field marketing, but that capital has historically been spent remarkably inefficiently and with essentially no feedback loop. In other channels — especially digital — the modern CMO expects performance data and rigorous ROI measurement. In field marketing, oftentimes the brand is hiring a local staffing agency who hires freelance talent, and the brand doesn’t even know if the talent showed up to a gig, let alone how the gig performed.

PINATA solves this problem by bringing workflow efficiency, easy collaboration, real-time data, and budget oversight to the offline marketing world. We’re here to power a new generation of field marketing that’s smarter, more scalable, and more nimble than ever before.

PINATA’s latest offering, Hayday, is an incredibly timely concept that has the potential to help millions of people get back to work safely. How did the idea first arise? 

Josh: The Hayday story starts with PINATA, our flagship, and namesake application. When we were getting started, we had our sights set squarely on the field marketing industry. But as we built out our solution, we realized that the technology itself could solve a host of problems across many business functions — really anything that involved managing remote or distributed teams and measuring their performance in real-time. 

“Pre-COVID-19, we were following a roadmap for the product that would eventually address enterprise needs well beyond our current market. Albeit ahead of schedule, the pandemic revealed just such a need.” - Josh Wand

In April, we were on the phone with Gallo — the nation’s largest wine company and one of our larger PINATA clients. They told us about new screening protocols they were implementing at their production facilities. But it was a logistical burden for them: lines were forming, compliance was hard to track, and the data was being captured in a low-tech, unusable fashion. Almost immediately, we realized that the tech stack we’d already built — from simple things like data collection and timely reminders to complex configuration options for diverse enterprise teams — could be readily repurposed for this new use case.

Thanks to that tech, we were able to take a brand new application from concept to market in just about two months. Apart from the tech, we developed a brand that’s meant to counterbalance the often scary new reality we face with positioning that centers wellness over sickness. “Hayday” itself is a pseudo-acronym for “How are you today?” and is meant to evoke positivity.

While we built, the world caught up to Gallo, and we’re seeing demand for screening from all corners of the economy.

As a business owner looking to implement safe office practices or efficiently adopt technology that helps mitigate risk, how does Hayday work for me?

“Hayday promotes health and safety, mitigates potential legal liability, and is necessary to comply with new regulations in many geographies." - Ian Ferguson

Ian: Most urgently, that means screening employees for COVID-19 as they return to on-site work, be it at an office, production line, warehouse, retail store, co-working space, or beyond. Such screening promotes health and safety, mitigates potential legal liability, and is necessary to comply with new regulations in many geographies.

For a business owner or HR team, it’s easy to get started at gohayday.co. Create your organization, tailor the system to your needs, and get your team ready to activate, all free of charge, and without bothering your larger team. When you’re ready to start prompting Check-Ins, simply turn the system on, initiating your subscription.

Once activated, the employee experience takes center stage. Here, Hayday turns health screening into a delightful way of starting one’s workday, rather than a creepy chore! The employee experience is friendly and non-clinical, and daily check-ins can include non-medical questions of any kind, such as surveys from HR. 

Whenever risk is identified via an employee check-in, HR is alerted. Using real-time dashboards, they can track compliance, at-risk individuals, and facility-level trends. They can also come to Hayday to track on-site traffic, and — if a COVID-19 diagnosis is confirmed — identify users who have been on-site with a sick individual. At-risk individuals can be mandated to work from home, with Hayday functioning as both an enforcement mechanism and a friendly resource.

But Hayday does more than COVID-19 screening, for both on-site and remote teams. 

Hayday's wellness screening platform

On-site, Hayday is also a solution for “traffic control,” enforcing new protocols for visitors and limits to personnel that can be on-site at one time. And when it comes to remote work, Hayday functions as a tracker of employee wellness and engagement more broadly.

Walk us through how you determined which set of guidelines were used for Hayday’s safety protocol. 

Ian: Like everyone, we’re still learning how best to mitigate the risk of COVID-19. The CDC, Apple, and Google among others have all deployed what are essentially consumer apps for personal self-assessment and contact tracing. The challenge with Hayday has been adapting these protocols specifically for an enterprise context. There’s a lot of variabilities across local regulatory guidance. But perhaps more importantly, we’re also seeing how differently individual businesses approach questions of risk, health, and safety.

Companies are facing choices they’ve never even contemplated previously. If we take people’s temperatures at our warehouse, what’s the threshold at which we’d send someone home? Is it 100.4º, per the CDC’s guidance? Or is it 99.6º, for example, because we want to be extra cautious? What exposure risks should make an employee ineligible for on-site work? And what about headcount limits for on-site work? These are tough decisions that now — unfortunately — need to be made.

Hayday presents these questions simply and clearly and enforces whatever decision each company makes for itself. Our goal is to give teams a variety of building blocks and allow them to configure Hayday to be a cornerstone of their own larger safety strategy. 

What does the future look like for PINATA and Hayday? Are there any upcoming opportunities that you and the team are particularly excited about?

Ian: For us as a business, Hayday represents a lightning-fast evolution from a single application to a more extensible platform. It’s been interesting to see how much inspiration, excitement, and productivity has come from looking a bit more abstractly at our software. That gets our wheels turning! 

For the time being, however, we intend to keep our sights squarely set on these two use cases, with clear next steps for each. For PINATA, we believe COVID-19 will make the field-marketing industry even more keenly aware of the need for transparency, accountability, data, and real-time decision making. So we continue to enrich our value proposition — first and foremost by incorporating Hayday’s wellness screening tools directly into the PINATA flatform. For Hayday, we’re back to the exciting early days of getting the word out, which as entrepreneurs is a phase we love!

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