Executive coaches have long been a staple in traditional corporate C-Suites. In recent years, founder coaches have become a more common trend in early-stage companies. Building a business from scratch, and dealing with ambiguity on a daily basis, can be extremely stressful and at times, isolating. Few can relate to the all-consuming nature of growing a startup. With coaches at hand, founders benefit from having a supportive and objective perspective to help them navigate the many peaks and troughs.
However, it’s not just founders who must learn to navigate ambiguity and the general rollercoaster that is startup life. Increasingly, companies are realising that early employees figuring out all the foundational “firsts” and those in high-growth environments, with all their scaling pains, can benefit from the same type of guidance previously only provided to senior leaders.
Coaches work with individuals to help develop their own areas of strengths and address weaknesses, to help them reach their potential. Coaching is a win-win service for everyone. Companies benefit from higher-performing employees and employees benefit from personalised guidance to help them reach their goals, whether professional or more personally orientated. When it comes to coaching, there is no one-size-fits-all approach that will work for everyone. Many startups are now looking to address this problem, enabling employees, in companies of all sizes and industries, to find the perfect fit for them, while also building services that will scale to support entire teams. Here are 5 of the upcoming coaching-as-a-service players in the European tech scene:
CoachHub – This Berlin-based startup is a digital coaching solution enabling personalised coaching and professional development for employees at all career levels. They currently have over 3,500 coaches on the platform. The team raised an impressive €67.7 million Series B in September 2021 and is expanding its services globally, having recently acquired Klaiton, an Austrian coaching company. Coachhub are also focused on Environment, Social and Governance issues. They’ve established CoachHub4Good, an initiative that plants one tree for each Coachee who uses the CoachHub platform, as a symbol of growth during their coaching program. Yannis Niebelschütz, Co-Founder and Managing Director, will speak at this year’s EU-Startups Summit, and, we also spoke to him in 2020 about the importance of making employees feel valued!
Sama – This UK-based startup is on a mission to bring the power of coaching to everyone, to elevate engagement in the workplace. Founded in 2020, the team believe that the best solution is one that is tailored to each employee and their AI matching technology helps pair users with the most suitable coach for them. Accredited coaches deliver their services through an app, allowing users flexibility in when they attend sessions. Sama are also focused on D&I, providing teams with the tools to create inclusive cultures.
Sharpist – Founded in 2018, this German company raised a €20m Series A in February of this year led by Capnamic Ventures and Endeit Capital. We have also consistently put the team on our list of German startups to watch. The team has over 1,000 coaches onboard and are building an outcome-driven digital learning platform for employee growth. Sharpist offer 1:1 coaching alongside personalised learning and is focused on helping companies in four key areas; employee empowerment, leadership development, organisational transformation and employee retention. Sharpist is looking to increase its international footprint and is planning to double the size of its 100-people strong team in 2022 including opening an office in London.
Jrny – Taking a slightly different approach, this UK-based startup is building a personal career coach powered by AI. Users are provided with coaching prompts on a daily basis via a Slackbot. Founded in 2021, the product is in beta and currently onboarding early customers. The team’s vision is to enable users to get clarity on what they want, so that they can take control of their careers, and to enable companies to roll out coaching to their teams in a highly scalable manner. Definitely an exciting one to look out for!
Rocky.ai – Another company taking an AI-driven app-based approach is Rocky.ai. The startup based in the north of England, and launched in 2019, recently raised about €359k in a pre-seed round led by Jenson Funding Partners. They are focussing on coaching users to develop a growth mindset using intelligent journaling techniques. The app, which is positioned as your self-improvement sparring partner, suggests 5 minutes’ worth of coaching questions each day and focuses on several key areas such as resilience, meaning and accomplishment.
By the way: If you’re a corporate or investor looking for exciting startups in a specific market for a potential investment or acquisition, check out our Startup Sourcing Service!