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Tenacity CEO Ron Davis.
Tenacity CEO Ron Davis.

Tenacity is raising money to help companies improve worker productivity.

The MIT spinoff, which relocated to Seattle in 2014, today announced a $1.5 million round led by Health Tech Capital that will fuel development of its software that employs “social physics for workforce optimization.”

Tenacity was born in an entrepreneurship class at MIT and its founders later graduated from the Techstars Kansas City accelerator program. The original idea emerged from research in a media lab taught by MIT professor Alex Pentland a few years ago.

Tenacity’s research has shown that happy, healthy, engaged employees work efficiently and are less likely to leave their employers. The company’s technology identifies problems within a workplace culture and deploys data-driven solutions to improve productivity and reduce attrition.

socialphysicsThrough the Tenacity program, employees are encouraged to set goals and work hard to achieve them. The goals range from reducing stress to fitness monitoring. Tenacity used social incentives to structure these employees’ reward systems, using a buddy system known as “accountability partners.” Any time that an employee achieves a goal, he and his partner receive Amazon gift cards.

Tenacity has chosen to begin in the contact center industry, and is currently piloting its service with a large telecom company.

In a statement, Health Tech Capital Managing Director Don Ross said that Tenacity “has uncovered novel strategies to save companies millions of dollars by using advanced analytics to build a workplace social community, reduce stress, and impact self-defeating employee behaviors.” Ross will join the company’s board.

Other investors include Harvard Business School Angels, Band of Angels, Launch Capital, Seattle Angel Fund, Seattle Angel Conference, and Rising Tide Fund. Individual investors include former Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers; former Overture CEO Ted Meisel; EMC Corp. Chief Legal Officer Paul Dacier; and former OptumHealth CTO Steve Meyers.

Tenacity is led by CEO Ron Davis and CTO John Vogel, who is well known in Seattle tech circles, previously serving as CTO of GoAhead Software and co-founding Four Creeks, purchased by OneCommand in 2006. Total funding for the 7-person company is now $1.9 million.

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