A Chat with Nicole Alvino, Co-Founder & CEO at Intelligent Communications Platform: Firstup

Firstup is the first intelligent communications platform in the employee experience market and serve more than 17 million employees worldwide, working with the world’s largest brands.

Our platform gives every company the power to connect their disconnected employee experience ecosystem, understand its people better, create and automate meaningful employee campaigns and provide insights that can improve engagement, productivity, and retention.


How did you come up with the idea for the company?

Early in my career I worked in finance at a large energy corporation in London. During this time, my eyes were opened to how a culture of command and control which was supported by communication hierarchies, could lead to a lot of dysfunction.

I experienced how inequity of access to information created social capital groups that were then rewarded only if they followed the company profit model. This created an environment that gave way to unethical if not illegal practices.

I also knew that the impact of these practices had become unbearable if not life-altering for many of the employees and that there needed to be a new structural model that broke down the silos and allowed for cultures built on transparency, trust and empathy.

I left and founded my first company based on these principles and later used this experience to build a platform that could be used to support a people-first culture, allowing executives to have transparent communication, listen to the employee voice, and held to the standard of doing the right thing.

My co-founder and I realized that every company needed a communication toolkit to support a people-first model and started SocialChorus (now Firstup) to help make work better for every employee.


How has the company evolved over the last couple of years?

We’ve seen the employee experience market start to look like when the customer experience market took off and become a “need to have” — with employees now rightfully considered a company’s most important investment.

With a shift in management models from command and control to network or a people-first approach, building meaningful engagement with employees, creating culture, and a sense of purpose has become mission critical to companies and led us to consider how we could further invest in building more innovation into our platform that can automate and orchestrate personalised communications at scale.

In 2021, we merged with Dynamic Signal, a platform that offered additional functionality for employee advocacy, so we could combine sophisticated segmentation capabilities to allow us, similar to the customer experiences platform, to provide enterprise-level scalability and execution of key business initiatives – in a people-first way. This has allowed companies like Dow, to use our platform for change management especially with M&A and organisational transformations.

What can we hope to see from Firstup in the future?

We’re focused on ways we can help build more sustainable workforces using ML/AI to help drive better communications along the employee lifecycle whilst delivering insights to the C-suite they never knew they could have – yet are key to running their business.