New startup in portfolio: London-based digital wellbeing platform Stayf raised $700K to prevent employees from burnout

Stayf is on a mission to empower organizations to prioritize the well-being of their workforce, fostering a thriving and harmonious work environment. The startup has successfully closed a $700K pre-seed investment round from AltaIR Capital, Yellow Rocks, and Smart Partnership Capital, which launched a new investment program for early-stage startups called Pre-Seed to Succeed. Somersault Ventures, Mark Younger (ex-Apple), and angels from Dentsu, Bain & Co. also participated in the round.

Stayf is a B2B SaaS that allows employees to develop social bondings with the functionality of communities and wellbeing challenges. After 4 months of using Stayf, 2000 employees’ overall happiness levels increased by 13% on average. The Stayf app sees average engagement levels of 70-80% due to incorporating nudge theory (shaping the environment to influence behavior) principles via digital technology and harnessing the power of social influence within a community. Thus, Stayf is designed in a way to greatly influence the likelihood that the user engages in activities that promote their well-being.

Igor Ryabenkiy, managing partner and founder of AltaIR Capital and partner of Pre-Seed to Succeed program: “There are a lot of startups that help businesses to enhance employee' involvement and performance. The team that knows how to build a sustainable business, community around the product, and how face current challenges in the market will win the race. We think that Stayf has everything that they need to become the winner.”

Sergei Bogdanov, managing partner at Yellow Rocks and partner of Pre-Seed to Succeed program: “We see great potential in Stayf. Its strong, experienced team has already built a promising product that aligns with business needs. Their intuitive, results-oriented wellness program fosters loyal employees through physical and social activities, boosting company productivity. Despite its early stage, Stayf is demonstrating serious traction and has already launched pilot projects with several big clients. Their new challenge is to make their mark by conveying the value proposition to even more market players.”

The company was founded by seasoned entrepreneurs with experience in the well-being sector: Max Zhurilo, the ex-founder of I Love Supersport (the largest endurance sports school), IRONSTAR, I LOVE RUNNING and University of Oxford and WEF Future Agenda Council alumni; Kirill Primaka, ex-VC at Peak State Ventures.

Max Zhurilo, co-founder and CEO of Stayf: “According to Leadership IQ study, approximately 74% of employees who kept their jobs said their productivity declined after company layoffs. And it's true, staff retention can be challenging after layoffs so what we do is help businesses unite their workforce during the aftermath and keep them engaged. Implementing only science-backed interventions proven with real-world results (University of Oxford, McKinsey, WHO), Stayf achieves a high engagement rate of 50-80% by designing the program to fit around modern busy personal and corporate lives. The new round that became possible by the Pre-Seed to Succeed investment program allows us to build up the sales team, enhance the product, and prepare for launch in the US.”

Since its launch last year, Stayf has rapidly expanded its footprint, servicing renowned companies including Schneider Electric, InDrive, MARS, Fresha, University of Oxford, and Playrix across the UK and MENA region. The corporate wellbeing market reached approximately $60B in 2023 and is currently growing at 6% YOY to reach $100B in 2032.

Stayf has become the first company to receive financial support from the Pre-Seed to Succeed program. It is designed for startups in the early stages with MVP and first traction. It focuses on various industries, including AI, B2B, SaaS, FinTech, Future of Work, Productivity Tools, Digital Health, and HR Tech. The investment program offers initial funding from participating venture companies, ongoing support from seasoned experts and mentors, and 50% of the next round for proven startups.