Making connections among employees, team members is anthym’s expertise. Long before the COVID pandemic forced companies to find ways for employees to connect despite working remotely, the importance of relationships to productivity was well-known.
That concept brought two experienced entrepreneurs together to form a new company — anthym — with a specific concept to help team members get to know each other better, thereby work together better.
Jeremy Gocke and Brian Mohr, both in Phoenix, Ariz., first met in 2016 while participating in a regional entrepreneurs’ organization (EO) designed to connect founders in an unthreatening environment. Jeremy is a systems engineer trained at West Point (the U.S. Military Academy) and Brian is a human resources expert specializing in executive searches.
“The forums in the EO used an activity called lifeline exercise,” Brian said. “You had to be honest and real, sharing in the presentation.”
The difference from past relating exercises, Brian said, was the emphasis on personal experiences rather than career-oriented experiences.
“We know how powerful that type of storytelling can be,” he added. “It allows people to build strong bonds.”
Brian and Jeremy began collaborating, eventually hitting on an approach called the 5 Memory Intro. Team members come up with five defining memories, then attach a song to each memory.
“It’s a way people start to know the real you,” Brian said. “As a way to make it easy, memories are symbolized by song. It creates a sort of soundtrack of our lives.”
Jeremy used his expertise to scale the concept up to a corporate level. The pair launched anthym (the name is all lower case) in early 2020 — right before the pandemic hit.
“We were all set to go out and facilitate the process in person,” Brian said. “Everything screeched to a halt. We had to pivot to an online approach.”
Again, Jeremy went to work. It soon became clear that the concept of team relationships was even more important when teams are physically separated, so once the platform was ready, there was demand for the product.
While the team connection experience was needed and popular, another component of remote work became even more important — onboarding new employees. With a few tweaks to the 5 Memory Intro, anthym began offering the New Hire Welcome. It’s a great way for the team to meet a new hire and vice versa, Brian said.
“We had a very positive response to the virtual offerings,” Brian said. “There’s an acute need. Companies are looking for ways to connect virtual workers, and we offer a life line.”
anthym also offers trained facilitators to take the 5 Memory experience deeper in a campfire-like retreat. That can happen both virtually and in person.
Jeremy and Brian recently completed the Lair East Labs 2022 Accelerator cohort. The experience, Jeremy said, proves how important continued connecting and learning is to success.
“I started my first company 20 years ago,” Jeremy said. “(In September 2019) I helped with Crumb, a fund-raising platform for youth sports, PTAs and the like, which died a miserable death. When Steven restarted it, we went through the Long Beach Accelerator program; I got connected with Andrea (White-Kjoss, the LBA managing director) and the rest.
“So with anthym, I applied to Lair East Labs.”
The connection is Sunstone Management, the venture capital firm based in Irvine, Calif., focusing on startups. Sunstone helps sponsor the Long Beach Accelerator, and is a partner in Lair East Labs.
“Lair East really elevates our exposure,” Jeremy said. “It connects us with potential clients, potential investors. It really proves the power of networks — the smartest person in the room is going to lose out to someone with a strong network.”
anthym’s current client list ranges from Banner Health to Google. Connections made through Lair East Labs and Sunstone Management will allow for a more international footprint, Jeremy said.
“Our core cause is bringing people closer together,” Brian concluded. “It’s a fundamental human need. We spend so much time at work, that’s where we make friends, make relationships… Feeling connected to our colleagues is not a fad, it’s fundamental.”
Most recently, anthym was selected to participate in the 2023 Techstars Anywhere class. Similar to an accelerator, the Techstars Anywhere program is 13 weeks of working with mentors, refining pitches and networking. There are three in-person sessions in different cities, but most of the work is conducted remotely.
Anthym will host a virtual conference for leaders to talk more about connections called Connectapalooza on Feb. 9. To find out more about that free event and the company in general, go to anthym.life.