San Francisco-based career coaching startup BetterUp has raised $103 million in a series C round of funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, with participation from Threshold Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Tenaya Capital, Freestyle Capital, and Silicon Valley Bank.
Launched in 2016, BetterUp is a mobile-first platform that connects workers with certified coaches who work with individuals on a one-to-one basis either via phone, text, or video chat. The BetterUp platform, which operates on subscription-based SaaS model, also provides employers with analytics to track progress across areas such as leadership efficacy, productivity, and happiness.
The company expanded beyond its core one-to-one coaching platform last year with a bunch of new products, including a service it calls Extended Network — this includes all manner of specialists, covering effective communications, how to improve sleep, nutrition, and more.
“By combining human expertise, the latest advances in scientific research, and digital technologies including AI and machine learning, we’re delivering unprecedented levels of personalized learning at scale,” noted BetterUp cofounder and CEO Alexi Robichaux. “We’re transforming people and workplaces in the only way that’s sustainable — bottoms-up — one person at a time.”
The U.S. personal coaching industry is a billion-dollar industry, and off the back of that BetterUp claims to have tripled its revenue in 2018 for the second year in succession. It has also amassed a roster of big-name clients including Airbnb, Lyft, LinkedIn, Symantec, Logitech, Equinix, and Mars.
Prior to now, BetterUp had raised around $42 million, including a $13 million round in 2016 and a $26 million follow-up last year, and with another $103 million in the bank, the company said it plans to invest in improving its products, including “immersive experiences” and “pushing the boundaries of AI and machine learning,” according to a statement.
BetterUp fits into a broader wellness and self-improvement trend that has seen startups such as Calm emerge as the first meditation unicorn, while e-learning scale-ups such as Coursera have doubled down on their efforts to enhance people’s skills for the workforce.
BetterUp is a slightly different proposition, of course. But it’s based on similar foundations — it’s all about maximizing human potential in a fast-changing employment landscape.
“BetterUp is the one company fundamentally investing in the most important part of the future of work — human beings,” added Lightspeed Ventures partner Will Kohler. “No other company drives measurable outcomes that change lives and workplaces. Its focus on driving change via human coaching — empowered and informed by technological tools — is the winning recipe for true, personalized human capital transformation and persistent behavior change.”
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