Everwise, a platform that helps professionals boost their careers by connecting them with expert mentors, has raised $16 million in a Series B round led by Sequoia Capital, with participation from existing investors Canvas Ventures and Webb Investment Network.
Founded out of New York in 2012, Everwise offers a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform to connect protégés with mentors from outside the their place of employment. Much of the process involves predictive technology used to recommend a suitable expert who has pre-agreed to volunteer their time. Why would a mentor wish to volunteer their time for no financial reward? Good ol’ fashioned altruism, according to Everwise, with the added bonus of being able to build their coaching skills.
In addition to its new funding, Everwise is lifting the lid today on a new, expanded social learning platform. This pulls together a range of resources, including peer groups, assessments, and hand-picked content — such as articles, books, and videos — to supplement employees’ development. Some of these new features have actually been made available for almost a year to a selection of clients, but Everwise is now throwing a handful of new options into the mix and opening the entire upgraded platform to everyone.
For example, the platform now better supports executives who are looking to develop their mentoring leadership skills, while a new tool called EverwiseWomen promises to “advance women in leadership roles” and help close the gender gaps in the workplace. And there’s a new Ask Me feature that allows people to ask experts questions through the platform.
“Providing access to online content alone won’t solve the talent crises companies face today,” said Everwise cofounder and CEO Mike Bergelson. “This is why organizations and employees are demanding a completely new model for career development. HR leaders have historically had to choose between solutions that scale and those that are effective. We believe this is a false choice and that every employee should have access to a personalized, impactful social learning experience. The human connection — where people learn from and with each other — is critical to translating knowledge into behavior change.”
The corporate elearning market alone was said to be worth $12 billion in the U.S. in 2015, and it could hit $31 billion globally by 2020, pushing a number of companies to cater to this growing demand for technology-powered development programs. Back in August, online learning startup Coursera launched to target businesses, while a few weeks back, on-demand enterprise elearning company OpenSesame closed a $9 million funding round.
Everwise had raised around $10 million before this latest round, and the company says its latest cash influx will be used to develop its platform, grow its team, and expand its marketing. Since its Series A round last December, Everwise says it has expanded to 250 enterprise clients, including Lyft, Zendesk, and Oracle.
“At Sequoia Capital, we’ve been actively tracking the learning and development market for many years,” said Sequoia partner Joe Dobrenski. “Everwise caught our eye as a breakthrough company — their approach turns conventional professional development on its head by providing, at enterprise scale, the individualized learning experiences required to help the modern knowledge worker reach their full potential.”