Spinach.io (YC W22) – Better daily standups

Hi HN, we’re Josh, Yoav and Matan and we’re building Spinach.io (https://spinach.io). We help development teams run projects more effectively, starting with better daily standups.

I (Matan) am an engineer, and Josh and Yoav led design and product teams. One of the big pains we’ve all experienced is the massive overhead that goes on in dev projects: meetings, planning, goal setting, communication, project and task management—and on and on. All this is time consuming, slows you down, and can burn you out. It was already challenging in an office setting, but for us it amplified even further in remote work with back-to-back meetings and endless pings on Slack. If you’re like us, you want to spend more time building stuff and simplify the rest. With Spinach.io, we’re making tools to support that and to help projects run with far less overhead.

We’re starting by taking on the daily status meeting, a.k.a. standups. If you do 30 minute daily standups, you’re spending 120 hours a year—that’s 15 work days! Besides all that overhead, it’s a pain to make everyone wait around when all they want to do is get moving with actual work. We cut the overhead by bringing intention and structure to the process, making standups more organized, focused and productive.

Here’s how it works.

Before standup: Spinach makes prep easy in Slack. Each team member writes a brief check-in. Writing helps you plan your day and articulate that plan to the team. When the team is prepared, standup can be spent sharing meaningful context instead of watching someone try to remember what they did yesterday.

During standup: Spinach rotates through each person’s check-in, fast and efficiently. No screen sharing or “who wants to go next”. You see and hear each person’s check-in, and there’s a timer to keep it moving. If you have a question or idea, you add it to Team Topics and Spinach will bring it up at the end of standup, so the meeting doesn’t get derailed.

After standup: Spinach creates a summary and automatically posts it to Slack. This is a useful reference for the team and can be shared with stakeholders to cut back on status updates throughout the day.

Async friendly: On days when you need to miss standup, your check-in can still get shared with your team, and you can still read the summary so you don’t miss anything. If the whole team wants to skip the live meeting and do an async standup, that’s also supported. You can switch between live and async without losing any history or context.

There's a demo video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bdimeouLDA.

We’re integrated both with Zoom (as one of the first apps in their marketplace) and Google Meet (as a Chrome extension), which means you can use Spinach.io inside of Zoom or Meet and don’t need to have another window or tab open. We also have a web app which can be used side-by-side with Zoom, Meet, Teams, Slack Huddles, Discord or any other meeting app. We’re integrated with Jira to pull in relevant tasks and context from your board, and Slack to enable async collaboration throughout the day.

For one team of up to 9 users the app is free forever, so anyone can easily try us out. For companies with multiple teams or 10+ users we charge $6 per month per user (with a free 30-day trial).

Our app is written in TypeScript using React, Express, Node.js, and Socket.io. The stack is hosted in AWS using Elastic Beanstalk, ElastiCache Redis, MongoDB, StepFunctions, Lambda, and EventBridge to name a few. Infrastructure is written as code using Serverless and AWS CDK.

The opportunity to reduce meeting overhead is bigger than we thought—we've already helped many teams cut their time spent in standups by 50%. At the same time, we’re still early and would love to hear what you think about what we’re building. We look forward to your comments and experiences, whether about daily standups or other points where tooling could help cut overhead. Thanks!

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andrey azimov by Andrey Azimov