BetterUp, a new startup that serves to open career coaching to anyone, has officially launched today and announced $12.9 million in funding from Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), Social Capital, Freestyle, Crosslink, SV Angel, and Vista Venture Partners. The overall funding constitutes a $2.9 million seed round and $10 million Series A round.
Based in San Francisco, BetterUp connects employees with “certified, executive-level coaching,” with members meeting their mentors for weekly 30-minute sessions over video-chat or phone. Between meetings, coaches give employees activities and exercises, along with resources such as videos, podcasts, and readings to aid their professional development, while on-demand support is also available by text.
Through the platform, BetterUp provides analytics to track progress across areas such as leadership effectiveness, happiness, and productivity. The company claims to have already nabbed some notable clients during its stealth phase, including Logitech, Capital One, and Deloitte.
“The very best companies are looking for ways to engage their people not just as employees, but as humans, because they realize that the best performers and most effective leaders are those who bring their whole person to work,” explained Alexi Robichaux, BetterUp cofounder and CEO. “At BetterUp, we enable companies to provide employees of all levels access to expert coaches that can help them grow as leaders, by developing the skills that drive personal excellence and professional performance.”
Through a dedicated mobile app, BetterUp members choose their coach from a network of people certified by ICF (International Coach Federation), a roster that includes psychologists, therapists, and others who are deemed to be experts in behavioral change.
Self-help and professional development have emerged as lucrative areas for tech-focused startups. The corporate elearning market was said to be worth $12 billion in the U.S. in 2015, with forecasts indicating it could hit $31 billion globally by the end of the decade. Just last month, Everwise raised $16 million to connect protégés with mentors, while back in August, elearning startup Coursera launched an enterprise-focused product designed to give employees extra skills to advance their careers.
“What attracted us to BetterUp is the passion of its founders, paired with an enormous market potential to bring the power of coaching and scalability of mobile software to today’s leading companies,” said Emily Melton, partner at DFJ. “Companies spend enormous resources attracting top talent, the next step is to give emerging managers the tools needed to achieve their full potential.”