British entrepreneur picks £2.4M from Youtube, Twitch founders for professional social media platform

Polywork Image credits: Polywork

Polywork, a new professional social network based out of New York, has raised $3.5 million (approx £2.4 million) in seed funding. 

The round was led by Caffeinated Capital (Ray Tonsing, first investor in Clubhouse, Airtable, and Brex) with participation from the founders of YouTube (Steve Chen), Twitch (Kevin Lin), PayPal (Max Levchin), VSCO (Joel Flory), Behance (Scott Belsky), and Worklife VC (Brianne Kimmel). 

The company is also planning for a global launch including the UK

Professional social network

Founded by Peter Johnston, Polywork is a professional social network that lets users create a free personal webpage. It lets users share what they’re up to both personally and professionally and sends collaboration requests to others on the network. It’s worth noting that Peter Johnston (Belfast, Northern Ireland) was part of Techstar’s 2014 London cohort.

According to the company, the social network launched in response to a growing trend of people who do more than one type of work and cannot be defined by a single job title. The network was launched in invite-only Beta in late April 2021. 

Peter Johnston (Polywork Founder) comments: “Existing professional social networks use the job titles we hold and schools we went to as the main way to identify who we are and it’s flawed and outdated. They make it impossible to express who we are, what we do, and the impact we’ve had, both inside our 9-5 work and outside of it. We are the sum of our actions, both personal and professional, but up until now, we have had no way to express this. Polywork lets you freely share the things that are important to you, who you are, and what you want to do.”

Steve Chen (Co-Founder, YouTube) comments: “Polywork is the most exciting social network we have seen emerge in recent years. It’s captured a universal truth about people and was in the right place at the right time. People want to express who they are and what they do far beyond that of their job title. That’s what Polywork is, a way to celebrate and share all the things we do. I’m really excited to be a part of the journey with Peter and the team.”

 Polywork has exploded in popularity in recent weeks as people are resonating with the flexibility it offers people to express the unique parts of their identity. Take Tim Brown’s page, for example, Head of Typography at Adobe, who also has the “Firefighter”, “Author” and “Dad” badges. Similarly, Gerry Newton shared his 9-5 “Music Management” badge, in addition to being a “DJ”, “Growth Hacker” and “Entrepreneur”; and Natalie Davis featured Frontend Engineer, in addition to “Coffee Lover” and “Book Worm.”

Image credits: Polywork

Ray Tonsing (Founding Partner at Caffeinated Capital) comments: “There’s a new generation that wants to work and live on their own terms, not destined for a single track identity. The pandemic accelerated this trend and humans are reevaluating who they are and what’s most important to them in life. Polywork will usher in and facilitate this permanent shift in human behavior. We’re excited to partner with Peter again!”

Brianne Kimmel (Founding Partner at Worklife VC) comments: “LinkedIn has long dominated the professional networking space forcing us all into a stuffy corporate identity reduced down to a single job title that hides all the wonderful things we actually do. Polywork empowers people to represent all aspects of their lives and what makes them who they are.” 

Scott Belsky (founder of Behance) comments: “Your history of job titles and associations with companies and schools does not represent your potential. Talent deserves better. Polywork is a real-time representation of what we’ve done, the people we’ve worked with, and the impact we’ve made.”