Case Study: General Catalyst
Instead of buying more software, General Catalyst creates custom apps to streamline business processes
General Catalyst is a leading venture capital firm investing in powerful, positive change that endures. They partner with founders from seed to growth stage and beyond, with the intent of building some of the world’s most enduring technology-based companies. They have employees all over the U.S. and some working remotely abroad, requiring seamless collaboration in the Cloud to achieve success.
Because of their forward-thinking business and culture, it makes sense General Catalyst wanted to be as innovative as possible with their technology. Their goal was to be more like the companies they invest in; technologically focused, agile, and open to try new things. Jon Rehagen, CTO at General Catalyst, describes this approach as focusing on “Cloud and SaaS solutions first and not necessarily doing what others are doing in the industry, not just taking a prescribed approach.”
As a venture capitalist firm, General Catalyst holds an enormous amount of highly confidential data in their system. These components created unique challenges that needed to be solved to efficiently enable collaboration across the entire organization. How could they all communicate, parse through information, and stay up-to-date on company tools?
General Catalyst had systems in place to communicate, but found they were disjointed and hard to sift through. The team’s Weekly Updates (company-wide emails detailing current projects) and Financial Updates (finance team-specific email updates) all only lived in the company’s email system. This made it difficult for users to find critical information they needed.
As a growing enterprise business, General Catalyst uses a variety of tools to achieve success. But how does an employee know what those tools are? There was no resource library that listed what all of these tools are and how a user would access them. Having this information in front of everyone would help with onboarding and transparency.
Third, and most essential to the business, how do employees connect with one another? Jon noticed contact management was a struggle, especially since General Catalyst has offices across the country and employees had been working remotely since early 2020.
Finally, Jon needed a partner that could help him not only implement solutions to solve these challenges but also measure the effectiveness of the solutions.
Wursta created a custom portal or app, called the GC App, to connect disconnected systems and create streamlined processes for the General Catalyst team.
The first solution was a search app tied to the company’s Weekly Updates. This repository of data is instrumental to a number of business processes specific to General Catalyst’s day to day. Now, employees can easily navigate all the information collected in Weekly Updates dating back to 2008 and parse through it to find information relevant to the projects or clients they’re working with.
Because this tool was such a success, the General Catalyst finance team asked for their own version of the search application. It functions the same as the Weekly Updates search app, but holds data specific to the finance team. Jon explained that now the finance team can “see any communication regarding our outreach on portfolio company metrics.”
Wursta also created a resource center called the Knowledge Base to show employees what tools General Catalyst has, why they’re important, and how to access them.
Next, utilizing their current HR system, Bamboo, Wursta created a corporate directory that syncs all General Catalyst employee’s contact information (name, title, email, address, phone number, and location) to employee’s mobile devices. This affects every employee and is used daily, making communication between coworkers easier.
While creating the GC App, Jon and the Wursta team wanted to measure its effectiveness – are people using it? To see backend performance, Wursta created a dashboard specifically for Jon, called Jon’s Corner, to view who is using what tools and how often. Because of this dashboard, Jon was able to measure the portal’s success. He found that they were getting unique logins of about 50% of their workforce in any given month, traction they’ve only seen with essential applications like Google.
The results of custom app creation for General Catalyst were a complete digital transformation. Seeing that the GC App was useful, General Catalyst was able to continue to allot resources and develop more custom apps instead of buying more tools to add to their tech stack. “This has pushed us to think about things differently, not everything has to be an off-the-shelf product,” explained Jon.
Jon has been working with the Wursta team for years, so he knows the value in creating a custom solution instead of just buying more software–and of having a partner that can work closely to understand the firm’s unique challenges and requirements. For him, Wursta has created a “flexible Cloud-based resource that can provide a multitude of things, primarily for us, search across a broad base of emails and email correspondents, contact directory and synchronization, and education resources for our employees.”
Contacts synced daily
Tools accessible in Knowledge Base
Average number of searches per month
Documents indexed in search
“This has pushed us to think about things differently, not everything has to be an off-the-shelf product.”
CTO, General Catalyst
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