Spoke streamlines IT operations for top venture capital firm


First Round Capital


Venture Capital
Ryan Donnon
Head of IT

Ryan Donnon, Head of IT for First Round Capital, transformed the company’s employee request system after switching to Spoke. Spoke’s seamless Slack integration and instant self-service option increased employee satisfaction and has dramatically reduced the time Ryan has to spend on employee tickets.

First Round Capital has built an impressive track record in the world of venture capital. As the sixth most active seed investor, First Round Capital’s philosophy is to spot opportunities before everyone else and provide unparalleled support for startup founders in executing their vision. With early-stage investments in powerhouse companies like Uber, Mint, and Warby Parker, their strategy has yielded incredible returns.

The Challenge

As First Round Capital’s Head of IT, Ryan Donnon has to manage an ever-changing list of priorities. In addition to keeping First Round’s IT systems running, Ryan is also responsible for answering individual employee requests. These often urgent requests could come in any time of day, in a variety of channels, such as email, Slack, and SMS.

With no central way to manage these requests, Ryan relied on his email inbox to keep track of tickets. When Ryan discovered Spoke, he realized that Spoke’s platform would solve his two most pressing problems: fragmented communication and the need to handle requests immediately.

Spoke would not only connect to all of the communication channels employees were using, but would also auto-resolve up to 50% of employee requests using AI. This self-serve aspect was particularly appealing to Ryan, since First Round’s team could now get instant help any time of day. “Spoke has allowed me to dive into bigger projects without having to be constantly pinged with little requests,” Ryan explains.

“It gives me peace of mind that I know people are going to Spoke and asking for help”

The Slack integration they were waiting for

When Ryan asked First Round’s employees what he could do to make their day-to-day lives better, they resoundingly asked for more Slack integrations to their favorite tools. Spoke’s seamless Slack integration proved to be a key factor in generating employee buy-in to the new platform.

During a live demo, the First Round team discovered the power Spoke’s machine learning in handling requests. “I did a 15-minute presentation in an all-hands meeting and showed them what you could do in Slack to get immediate answers. That was the epiphany moment. It kind of wowed everyone. After that, I sent everyone invites and got 95% of people signed up immediately,” Ryan says.

The simple and intuitive integration allowed First Round team members to resolve their requests without having to interrupt their workday. Not only does Spoke use machine learning to instantly resolve requests in Slack, but Spoke can also open tickets and route more complex requests directly to Ryan without a separate ticketing system.

One platform for every request

In addition to Slack, First Round team members can also send their requests to Spoke via email, SMS, or Spoke’s web app. Unifying all of these communication methods allows Ryan to see all of his requests in a single interface. At a glance, he knows what tickets have been resolved without having to worry about missing a request.

Thanks to Spoke’s streamlined ticketing system, Ryan is no longer managing employee requests out of his email inbox. “My inbox is my inbox. Now I’m not worried about Inbox Zero. I don’t see those emails as to-dos or outstanding support issues,” Ryan says.

“Spoke has completely changed my workflow.”

A dramatic change in efficiency

Not only have the First Round employees improved their productivity, but Ryan has also seen an incredible return on a small time investment.

With only an hour of setup time, Ryan seeded Spoke’s knowledge base with answers to frequently asked questions, as well as linking answers to Google Drive docs and other important resources. After that, Spoke’s machine learning was off to the races, answering requests and getting smarter with each employee interaction.

Ryan used to get interrupted multiple times per day, spending 5-10 minutes answering simple questions. Now that Spoke is handling the basic requests, he estimates that he has gotten 1-2 hours of productivity back in his week. “It has significantly increased my efficiency,” Ryan shares.

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