Building a culture of learning is of critical importance for today’s workforce. Employees must be engaged and given growth opportunities in order for an organization to scale to meet its strategic and operational goals. However, most organizations have focused on providing the requisite talent development programs largely to senior-level personnel or through blanket non-specific offerings. GrowthSpace is a talent development platform that focuses on progress-based training, coaching, and mentoring. The platform is data-focused to ensure that employees are matched with relevant experts and that the custom programs are supporting company objectives while measuring outcomes and progression. Each custom program is designed as a growth sprint and the company charges its clients based on the number of growth sprints. Founded in 2019, GrowthSpace is at use at companies like Dynamic Yield (also an investor), Johnson & Johnson, Nespresso, and Siemens, whose workforce are accessing 600+ experts in 300+ subject matters.
AlleyWatch caught up with GrowthSpace CEO and Cofounder Omer Glass to learn more about the future of leadership development, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding, and much, much more…
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
GrowthSpace has raised a total of $19 million through Seed and Series A rounds. The Series A round of $15 million was led by Microsoft’s M12 and Vertex Ventures.
Tell us about the product or service that GrowthSpace offers.
Imagine you had to develop just one person in an organization. You’d define their challenge, find the perfect coach, trainer, or mentor to meet that challenge, and then measure the results. GrowthSpace allows companies to do this at scale for the entire organization. The GrowthSpace platform addresses the most critical issues associated with traditional coaching and mentoring programs, including their inability to scale and difficulties associated with the measurement of employee progress. The platform delivers one-on-one, personalized training, coaching, and mentoring, as well as lectures and workshops, to any location in the world. Each employee’s growth program is built specifically to meet their challenges and objectives, and involves their direct manager in the process. The result is collaboration that ensures that corporate learning and development objectives are achieved.
I was inspired to start GrowthSpace alongside Dan Terner (COO) and Izhak Keder (CTO) after not knowing the answer to the question “how do you create effective employee development?” What we did know, however, was that the learning and development (L&D) industry wasn’t properly developing employees — a problem made worse by the absence of data, best practices, and scalability in the space. We soon came to realize that there simply was no way to expand existing L&D methods to handle hundreds or thousands of employees at all levels of a company. On top of that, there are many areas for employee development for both soft and hard skills, so it’s difficult to find the right experts. In order to properly scale, you need a lot of experts, a lot of data, and a sophisticated solution that can combine them. That’s how GrowthSpace was born.
How is GrowthSpace different?
What makes GrowthSpace different from other learning and development platforms is its emphasis on data. Its AI-backed algorithms tag experts according to their particular specialization, and collect data from learning and development managers, participants and their direct managers, in order to ensure each employee gets matched with just the right expert to meet their challenge or goal, and that each program is successful, tied to business KPIs, and measurable.
What market does GrowthSpace target and how big is it?
GrowthSpace is relevant to every business within any industry. Any company with concrete learning and development needs can be a customer. Our customers range from 150-people companies to enterprises with thousands of employees and span across tech, retail, CPG, finance, manufacturing, hospitality, and more.
What’s your business model?
Our business model, which has resulted in zero churn since we began selling commercially, is a yearly recurring contract model. Customers purchase yearly credit packages (50, 100, 200, 400). Every credit is equal to one “growth sprint” – a 5-7 session program that an employee goes through with one of our experts.
What are your post-COVID office plans??
GrowthSpace always has been and always will be a hybrid workplace. We have team members spread out over two continents, and while everybody is encouraged to check-in at our office (when it’s safe to do so, of course), we also spend a lot of time coordinating projects on Jira, Zoom, and Slack.
What was the funding process like?
GrowthSpace was approached by Microsoft M12 and Vertex Ventures after hearing from several portfolio companies that have been relying on the platform.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
In addition to investors proactively reaching out to us after hearing from their portfolio companies, we also have a customer that has turned into an investor of GrowthSpace. Liad Agmon is the CEO of Dynamic Yield, a McDonald’s subsidiary, and decided to invest in our company after experiencing firsthand the impact the platform was having on his employees. According to Agmon, employees achieved personal and professional development, while the company itself obtained real data around the program’s results combining inputs from the participants and their managers. He chose to invest to ensure other companies around the world can experience the same results.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
By the end of this year, we’ll be at over 1000 coaches, trainers, and mentors. Our goal is to get to 5000 by then of 2022. This funding round is going to be invested in further expansion into North America, and significantly growing both our commercial and technical teams. We’re constantly evolving the way we use data, and there will be a lot of resources invested in increasing our NLP capabilities, expanding and improving our product.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We intend to evolve GrowthSpace into the platform for all human-led learning and development. We will do so by building off of the same concepts that got us to where we are today. We are going to continue expanding our one-on-one growth programs to even more topics to ensure all core competencies are included for every type of employee, and we will do this by actively listening to and learning from everyone’s professional challenges.
What’s your favorite outdoor dining restaurant in NYC?
As a vegan, Spicy Moon is a favorite of mine!