How three-year-old Sydney analytics startup SWOOP landed an “amazing” partnership with Facebook


A Sydney-based analytics startup that has been operating for just three years has landed an “amazing” partnership with social media giant Facebook through its Workplace platform.

Dr Laurence Lock Lee and Cai Kjaer founded SWOOP Analytics in 2014 after working in the analytics and consulting space for more than 30 years. The two joined forces to create SWOOP as an analytics solution for businesses wanting to drive employee engagement, and landed a partnership with Microsoft soon after launch.

“There’s a lot of investment in the business community around employee engagement, and companies are implementing tools like Microsoft’s Yammer and Facebook’s Workplace to help drive it,” Kjaer told StartupSmart.

“They’re investing a lot of time in setting up these platforms, but then they start wondering how to demonstrate that they’re actually working. The platform analytics can tell you how many users you have, how many are posting on the platforms, and what time of day they’re posting, but not much else.”

This is where SWOOP’s analytics tool comes in, which Kjaer says can show how and where collaboration is occurring in the workplace, including things like if executives are “engaging with the front line”.

“It lets anyone in the business measure collaboration in real time via these social platforms,” he says.

Starting out with just three people, the next client Kjaer and his team landed after Microsoft was big four Australian bank Westpac. It was an “oh shit” moment for the business, says Kjaer.

“The next one after that was Telstra, which didn’t make it much better stress wise,” laughs Kjaer.

These days the company employs more than 10 people and has clients in North America and Europe. It was thanks to one of these clients that SWOOP was able to land the world-first partnership with Facebook.

“One of our clients tapped us on the shoulder and asked us if we knew about Facebook Workplace and if we wanted an introduction. I said ‘of course we would’ and I flew over to Menlo Park and met with them in December last year,” he says.

Ten minutes after shaking hands and explaining what SWOOP does, the Facebook team was on board and asked Kjaer if his team could develop a way to plug in the startup’s analytics platform with Facebook Workplace. The integration means users of Facebook Workplace can gain further insights into the collaboration that is happening on the Facebook platform through SWOOP.

“It went so much faster than we expected. We went away over Christmas and New Years and built the connector and showed it to them, and they said, ‘we need to have a partnership with you guys’,” Kjaer said.

The experience since then has been “amazing”, says Kjaer, who says working with Facebook has not been anything like he expected.

“Facebook may be a big company but Workplace is like a startup within Facebook. We were expecting it to be a big corporate bureaucracy but it’s an incredibly agile organisation,” he says.

“They’re very organic in how they work and we haven’t run into the usual issues you’d expect when working with big organisations.

“It has really taken me by surprise.”

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