Getting a new job is an exciting process. But often when new employees finish training, they are often not as excited as they were before due to standardized boring training activities that do not address the needs of a modern workforce. 1Huddle is an employee-training platform that uses simple mobile games to train staff in a highly engaging and adaptive manner. Eliminating the typical boring videos and quizzes that are reminiscent of an era before the Internet, the platform allows companies to provide a quicker and more immersive learning experience that focuses on the critical skills gaps found in the workforce. The next-generation learning and training programs are already being used by a number of notable organizations like ESPN, Hyundai, the Golden State Warriors and Audible.
AlleyWatch sat down with 1Huddle CEO and founder Sam Caucci to discuss the company, its origin, the intersection of gaming and HR, the company’s vision, and most recent round of funding, which brings its total capital raised to $3.6M.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We completed our Series A fundraising round of $3M with NRD Capital, the Atlanta-based Private Equity Firm and Newark Venture Partners, the Early-Stage Accelerator and Venture Fund.
Tell us about 1Huddle.
Today, corporate training is boring, outdated and ineffective. And at a time when our workforce is burdened by college loan debt, ineffective training and the risk of automation replacing workers, it is time for a training resource that gets people ready to work.
Using 1HUDDLE, companies can convert existing learning/training into quick-burst mobile games. With games taking less than 3 minutes to complete and a seamless platform that makes it easy for inexperienced managers to build training games – the 1HUDDLE platform is training that employees want to do…not just have to do.
Earlier in my career, I spent my first 10 years training, managing and developing sales reps for today’s workforce. The problem I kept coming across was it was getting harder and harder to prepare people for work.
So, I wanted to build a tool that was easy to manage, fun to use. Ultimately, at the end of the day I wanted a training tool that left an employee feeling more prepared without the feeling they just took a test.
Why is gamification an effective tool in developing a workforce and with training? Can you share some outcomes that you have seen from use of your platform from your data?
The problem with training today is that it does not challenge workers. We have dumbed down learning to make it easy to deliver. What is difficult about watching a video on Lynda? Or completing an online video and then taking a quiz? Nothing. This is the reason why most people that complete a live training will forget over 87% of what they learned within 30 days (HBR research stat, 2017).
Training is not hard. So, training does not stick mentally. And ultimately, training is forgotten.
Games create a different opportunity. It is through struggle that training is better remembered, and through competition that we motivate employees to want to play more often.
We have a tremendous amount of research that proves using 1HUDDLE results in employees that learn faster (cut onboarding time by 75%), retain information longer (retention 90 days after training: 84% for 1HUDDLE players .vs. 7% for LMS users), are less likely to turnover (18 months .vs. 11 months) and more likely to drive better performance (20-25% increase in sales performance across top players).
How is 1Huddle different?
Most training today is developed by academics that have never worked in jobs they build training for. The 1HUDDLE platform is built by a team and a community of clients that know what is needed to properly and effectively prepare people for work.
Additionally, most LMS (learning management systems) are module/video platforms that people click through…and find a way to cheat the process.
What market does 1Huddle target and how big is it?
$400B is spent on corporate training and education tools.
Our target are companies that struggle with adoption and engagement around learning. Most of our companies have a ton of learning content but struggle to make it fun, engaging and fit an increasingly millennial workforce.
What’s your business model?
Our business model is Software as a service (SaaS).
What was the funding process like?
The funding process was exciting. I looked at it as a sales process and an opportunity to meet people across the community. We do not get offended by a ‘No’ or an investor that does not get it. We know that we have to continue to put up numbers, continue to talk to people and continue to make improvements.
We are very excited about the investors in the round. We could not have asked for better partners than the team at NRD Capital (years of experience in the franchising space) or Newark Venture Partners (powering major change in a city that needs it most).
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Our biggest challenges faced included: balancing the needs of my team & the responsibility to continue to forge forward with the fundraising process.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
There were 2 factors: First was the team. We have put together the right people around our product. Without our team…the product would not exist. The second factor was success. We have worked tirelessly to get our game platform in the hands of some pretty big enterprise players: ESPN, Audible (an Amazon Company), Hyundai Motors, Madison Square Garden, Golden State Warriors, Loews Hotels…
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Expansion into 3 new verticals (hospitality, franchising and luxury retail), $2M ARR, and Hiring 5 new sales team members.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Focus inward. Growing without a lot of venture funding forced our team to practice a tremendous amount of discipline. Product discipline means investing in the right features that move the needle. Sales discipline means being aggressive to focus on the markets we have leverage. Service discipline means delivering the right experiences for our customers daily.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
As we put new capital to work, we will be investing in growing our technology and growing our team. We will make a major impact on a learning space that has been looking for better ways and tools to prepare their people, but has been continuously disappointed by their learning solutions (Cornerstone, SuccessFactors, etc.) failing to deliver.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
Ribalta for a Napoli soccer match. Best pizza in NYC.