Arro has raised a pre-seed round of funding from InReach Ventures and a number of strategic angels (see below). As a collective, these backers include operators, builders, creatives and investors who want to improve the future of remote work.
As a company, we decided to raise outside capital to accelerate our product roadmap. We’ve got a number of open roles right now and we’re excited to find more people who want to join us on our mission.
On that front, we thought it might be helpful to share some insights as to why we started the business in the first place and the scale of our ambitions.
Exactly 12 months ago, our co-founder Craig was doing his annual review and goal setting for the year ahead. Having recovered from Long COVID in 2020, he was keen to take stock of what really mattered. Working from home seemed great in so many ways but it was still flawed.
He loved spending more time with his family and less time commuting. He enjoyed working around his schedule and not on someone else’s terms. Yet each day, he’d find himself struggling with the same problems:
At the same time, Johannes had recently started working remotely full-time. He’d always wanted to move towards a distributed engineering role but the transition hadn’t been easy. Working from a small apartment in Stockholm, he felt like he was often living at work instead of working from home.
Recognising that there had to a better way, Johannes and Craig decided to pair up. The first thing they wanted to do was to learn if these issues were unique to them or not. So they spoke to hundreds of freelancers, employees and students to learn about what they liked and disliked about remote work.
It turned out that there was a a lot of similarities between these groups. Most people loved remote work and didn’t want to go back to the office but there were clear tradeoffs. Adapting to the pandemic, they hadn’t developed the social antibodies to make the most of this shift.
Arro is a shared daily planner and journal that helps you spend your time and attention more intentionally. The way it works is simple — you use the tool first thing in the morning to plan your day. You then interact with the app as the day progresses, providing updates and check-ins along the way. The goal is to get to day zero which means completing whatever it is you set out to do.
Arro was built from the ground up to tackle those issues like loneliness, burnout and low motivation. As part of our product discovery process, we looked into lots of different ways to manage our time. We tested out multiple calendar apps. We played around with to-do apps. We even tried accountability coaching.
Ultimately though, we felt that we needed to invent something new to solve these problems from first principles. We learnt that prioritisation was the single biggest lever to improve job satisfaction. So we imagined a tool that could act like your personal assistant, using social prompts to nudge you back on track to help you get the most from life and work — on your terms.
We also wanted to do this in a completely asynchronous way. We felt that remote work shouldn’t just replicate the office. The best version of remote work is time agnostic and distraction free. It revolves around everyone’s schedule. Reverting to virtual meetings or live chat as the default mode of communication isn’t progress. So we set out to deliver on our promise through three main value propositions:
When we looked around, we realised that a lot of the existing products used for remote work aren’t fit for purpose. They actually increase that feeling of being always on. They may improve communication but knowledge workers were never meant to be overpaid human routers. Real work happens during blocks of uninterrupted time.
We also felt that most online networks were just zero-sum signalling arenas. There’s lots of rhetoric around brining your ‘whole-self’ to work every day. Can you really do that through a Slack channel or over an email thread? Remote work only increases our tendency to mask what’s really going on. We add temperature checks to our meeting agendas. We discuss transactional status updates. We show the version of us that people expect to show up. Every day can’t be perfect but there’s an expectation that it should be. So we compartmentalise and pay the price.
The tools you use should serve you — not the other way around. That’s the whole point of technology. We believe that software should appeal to people’s values, not their primordial nervous systems. This remote transition is a once in a generation opportunity to reset our ways of working. There’s never been a better time to restructure how we spend our time. For us, that means focusing on self-growth above everything else.
If we’re successful in our mission, we will have built the world’s largest growth network — a global collection of supportive strivers. We don’t expect that to happen overnight and we don’t think it’s going to be easy. We’re asking a lot of our community:
The best — maybe the only? — real, direct measure of “innovation” is change in human behaviour.
We know this is a big ask and the odds are stacked against us. Getting people to use our product every day and change the way they spend their time is a gargantuan task. But if we have a small shot at genuinely make a difference in people’s lives, we’re willing to take that bet.
Going fully remote (or even hybrid) is one of the biggest societal changes to happen over the past 50 years. We want to do our part in shaping that future for the better. That’s what gets us out of bed everyday to work on Arro and that’s what drives us to succeed.
As founders, we’ve been working on consumer and B2B products for over 15 years. Our skillset is in developing simple but delightful user-interfaces at scale.
We’ve been testing Arro internally for a couple of months now and we’re happy with the progress. We think we’re building something innovative and unique. Right now, we’re still developing the app to improve the overall experience. Our aim is to have the beta in people’s hands for testing in Q2 of this year. All going well, we’d like to launch the product publicly after that.
We have a limited number of slots available for people to test out the beta. If you’d like to give it a try, just include your email on our homepage and we’ll add you to the wait list. We’re going to provide access as soon we can and look forward to getting your feedback!
InReach Ventures is the AI-powered venture capital firm focused on early stage European startups. InReach develops and uses its own proprietary software and AI to discover, evaluate, and support investments, primarily in the areas of consumer internet, SaaS, and marketplaces.