Stayf raises $700K to prevent employees from burnout

Stayf is dedicated to enabling organisations to focus on the wellbeing of their employees, aiming to create a productive and positive workplace culture.

The startup recently completed a pre-seed funding round, securing $700K from investors including AltaIR Capital, Yellow Rocks, and Smart Partnership Capital. These funds were raised as part of a newly initiated investment initiative targeted at early-stage startups, named Pre-Seed to Succeed. Additional support for this round came from Somersault Ventures, Mark Younger (formerly of Apple), and individual investors associated with Dentsu and Bain & Co.

Stayf is a B2B SaaS platform designed to enhance employee connections through community features and wellbeing challenges. Within just four months of implementation, Stayf has reported a 13% increase in the overall happiness levels of 2,000 employees. The app boasts engagement rates of 70-80%, achieved by leveraging nudge theory principles – modifying the environment to alter behaviour – through digital means and capitalising on the community's social influence. This approach makes Stayf effective in encouraging users to participate in activities beneficial to their wellbeing.

Igor Ryabenkiy, Managing Partner, and Founder of AltaIR Capital and partner of Pre-Seed to Succeed program said: “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 also said: “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 established by experienced entrepreneurs with backgrounds in the wellbeing industry: Max Zhurilo, a former founder of I Love Supersport (the biggest endurance sports school), IRONSTAR, I LOVE RUNNING, and an alumnus of the University of Oxford and the WEF Future Agenda Council; alongside Kirill Primaka, who was part of the founding team at Yellow Rocks and a former venture capitalist at Peak State Ventures.

Max Zhurilo, Co-Founder, and CEO of Stayf said: “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 inception last year, Stayf has swiftly grown its operations, now working with organisations such as Schneider Electric, InDrive, MARS, Fresha, University of Oxford, and Playrix, spanning the UK and the MENA region. The corporate wellbeing sector was valued at around $60B in 2023 and is experiencing a yearly growth rate of 6%, projected to hit $100B by 2032.

Stayf has distinguished itself as the inaugural recipient of funding through the Pre-Seed to Succeed program. This initiative targets early-stage startups that have developed a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and have begun to gain initial traction. It caters to a broad spectrum of sectors such as AI, B2B, SaaS, FinTech, the Future of Work, Productivity Tools, Digital Health, and HR Tech. The program provides startups with initial capital from contributing venture firms, continuous guidance from experienced professionals and mentors, and guarantees 50% of the funding in the subsequent financing round for startups that demonstrate success.