In an unprecedented work environment defined by distributed teams and virtual-only communications, the two co-founders feel their 2018 is at stake more than ever: mentors also need mentorship.
Christine Tao And LullabyBack brains sounding board, Want to train any leader within an organization to be a better leader. The San Francisco startup connects anyone from first-time managers to coaches through a marketplace with C-suite executives.
Revenue has doubled or tripled every year since 2016, which the company says hovers in the “multi-million” range. But in the wake of the coronovirus epidemic, the Sounding Board has seen more demand for its platform. Quarterly bookings have increased 3.4 times since Q2 2020, and in the last five months, monthly revenue has doubled.
On the heels of this growth, the co-founders say that Sounding Board’s next step is to move beyond coaching services as a startup and into a platform that can show leaders that those new skills are key to business development. Are influencing The new product is meant to serve as a hub and roadmap where a participant and coach can track insights, progress and behavior.
Within the platform, a user can schedule a session with a coach, match someone, as well as view resources and complete tasks assigned to them. In addition, there is a feature that allows coaches and managers to measure goals on an equal basis OKR-related software.
“The material is great, but until you can apply that content, it’s not very useful,” said Mjan. “So this coaching is a way to help people apply insights and what they have learned is derived from some kind of material and actually uses it in the workplace.”
The new product takes a monthly-in-person summit that your organization used to call executive coaching and makes it a living, breathing part of a manager’s workflow.
Beyond helping its users better temperature checks on their progress, the product will help the Sounding Board scale its services. Now any tutor on the sounding board has more methods in the user’s mind and workflow, so not every call is synchronous and can be managed more evenly.
The co-founders see their long-term differentiation in the facility. Anyone can build a marketplace, but uses intuitive, easy technology to track effectiveness that occurs during post-coaching.
Tao acknowledges that the startup is not for everyone. The Sounding Board has seen early adoption around venture companies that are in a hyper-growth mindset, leading to an IPO. That level of maturity is a sweet spot for a third-party, such as getting them into teams and leaders at large. Customers include VMware, Uber, Plaid, Chaim and Dropbox.
Said that, within organizations, 60% of sounding board users are first-time managers, 30% are middle-level and 10% are C-suite. The co-founders feel that these numbers indicate a broader demand for mentorship beyond what their rivals offer, often clinging to the life coach sector or stress management of the C-suite.
“Everyone is starting to realize that we’re going to offer coaching wider than the C-suite, and sometimes they don’t really know what that means,” Mazaran said.
The realization, along with the COVID-19 tailwinds, has helped the sounding board attract new millions in venture capital. The startup tells TechCrunch that it has raised $ 13.1 million Series A under the leadership of Canaan Partners. Other investors include Coordination Ventures, Bloomberg Beta, Precursor Ventures, as well as DeGrade founder David Blake and KD Johnson, former CEO of Udami.