Socratic, an early-stage startup that wants to bring data to bear on a developer-focused task management system, announced a $3 million seed investment today from Unusual Ventures, Overtime.vc and a couple of industry angels. The company is also opening up public beta of the software starting today.
It's worth noting that Socratic received the investment in May 2020. It has been operating in stealth and is announcing the funding today for the first time.
Company co-founder and CEO Nolan Wright says that he wants to build a new kind of task management system by using data to drive decisions. "Socratic is the first task management system that has been built from the ground up to use data and data science to help individuals and teams work better," Wright explained.
It does this by letting developers work as they normally do, while Socratic works behind the scenes tracking all the critical data. "We then turn that around and give you insights into how you work and how you can work better," he said.
The product is focused on developers and team leads, but Wright says that he also wants to give engineering executives more insight into what's happening inside their organizations. "We also want to design it for executives, so we also try to answer some of the more important questions that engineering leaders are trying to ask," he said. That could be related to whether more personnel would solve a productivity problem, as an example.
While the software is using internal tooling to track most of this information, it could obviously benefit from linking to other work systems, and the first such integration is with GitHub. "We not only do things like automation related to the integration like automatically moving tasks based on commits, but we also extract a lot of data from the git repository to actually provide insights like how long code reviews are taking, how long is it taking to merge features in general and what things need to be reviewed," Wright said.
The company has only six employees, including the founders, with plans to add four more by the end of the year. Wright says the team is diverse already and he plans to try to keep it that way. "We have a really diverse group already, and it's important for us. It's about just getting different perspectives on things and so it's just kind of who we are...and it's an antidote to narrow thinking," he said.
The software has been in private beta with around 10 design partners. As they open it for public beta today, the plan is for full launch sometime next year. Although this approach could be applied to many different work groups beyond developers, as an early-stage startup, the company has decided to focus on the software development process for starters.