8 minute read

SaaS startup Comeen helps ease return to office

The Comeen team.

French company provides HR tools and digital signage to enhance the workplace

Comeen, a workplace experience platform for large enterprises, aims to simplify employees’ return to their offices–and make it more fun. Their flagship product, Comeen Play, is digital signage software that broadcasts content to screens remotely, allowing companies to share information with employees on workplace screens. A newer product, Comeen Workplace, is an employee productivity app that streamlines employee onboarding, meeting room scheduling, and hybrid office planning. "Our mission is to make employees happy when they return to the office," says CEO Benjamin Gauthier.

After several years of working from home, teams around the world are returning to the office, and many are trying a hybrid approach for the first time. Gauthier saw an opportunity to rethink his business model, in order to help ease the transition back to the office for both large companies and their employees.

Comeen's origins

Comeen began as a digital signage platform that could broadcast content like ads on screens in stalls, employee break rooms, lobbies, open spaces, and hallways. Initially, the company targeted a broad range of vertical markets, including corporations, bakeries, large enterprises, schools, and retail, but Gauthier and his cofounder Simon Cleriot dreamed of international expansion.

Just as they landed a committed investor for a seed round in 2020, news of a potential global pandemic began circulating. One week later, the French government announced a shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the investor put the funding commitment on hold. Retail clients canceled their contracts, and the Comeen team had to reduce headcount.

"During this very challenging time, we took the time to improve the product," says Gauthier. "We worked on our investor pitch presentation, looked at our finances, and worked on the product itself."

Later in 2020, the team built Comeen Workplace, a Google Calendar add-on that integrates with Google Workspace to allow companies to manage meeting room bookings, planning, and digital signage. Administrators can onboard new employees with a few clicks. Comeen released the enterprise-grade product in January 2022.

Scaling with support from Accelerator: Cloud

Comeen applied to Google for Startups Accelerator: Cloud to help migrate their infrastructure from AWS to Google Cloud Platform. Google Cloud mentors guided them through the migration process and helped them earn a place in Google Cloud Marketplace. "We are targeting large enterprises; our customers have large sales commitments and can use those commitments to buy Comeen products, giving Comeen a competitive edge," says Gauthier. "I am also now working with the Google Cloud sales team to extend and improve our product for existing customers and target new ones who have a sales commitment and a need that Comeen can fill."

In addition to reaching technical goals, Accelerator: Cloud helped push the team's leadership and sales skills. "The Demo Day was the best part of my experience and the most challenging," says Gauthier. "We used the same pitch with investors for our Series A, which we hope to launch at the end of 2023."

In addition to the Google Cloud Platform, Comeen uses ChromeOS because it provides kiosk mode, which allows users to launch an application full-screen. In January 2022, Comeen Play, the digital signage platform from the company, was invited to join the Chrome Enterprise Recommended Products program.

Google Workspace has always been an essential tool for Comeen. "For the digital signage platform, we wanted our customers to be able to create content on Google Slides and share it on screens," explains Gauthier. "We developed an integration with Workspace that allows users to share content from their Google Drive on a digital signage screen privately. Google Calendar is central to our Comeen Workplace product, and we've extended that application with a Google Chat app that reminds users about meeting room bookings and lets you check in to work when you arrive."

Advice for aspiring startups and founders

Gauthier and Cleriot encourage entrepreneurs to fine-tune details like accounting while thinking globally. "Focus on global clients,” says Gauthier. “SaaS companies can have customers everywhere, so invest in marketing, to ensure you have a good website and are visible. Create English-language versions of everything." Both cofounders agree that top-notch talent is also key. "With a good team, you can achieve goals and go far,” Cleriot says.

Learn more about Comeen