While companies may pay for a CEO coach, lower-level employees often get stuck with lame skill building sheets or no mentorship at all. Not only does this limit their potential productivity, it also makes them feel stagnant and undervalued, causing them to jump ship.
Therapy … um … Executive Coaching is finally destigmatized as entrepreneurs and their teams realize that not everyone can crush it all the time. Building a business is difficult. It’s okay to cry sometimes. But the best thing you can do is be vulnerable and seek help.
Torch went out of hiding last year at $ 18 million to teach empathy to founders and leaders of C-Suite. Since 2013, Everwise has raised $ 26 million from Sequoia and others for its peer-to-peer mentoring marketplace, which makes it easy for people in the workplace to get advice. Tomorrow they will officially announce their merger under the Torch name to become a full-stack career coach for all levels of employees.
“As humans, we face major existential challenges in the form of pandemics, climate change, the threats from automation and AI,” said Cameron Yarbrough, Torch co-founder and CEO. “We need to create leaders at every level of an organization and stimulate them with tools and human support to advance in the world.”
Startup acquisitions and mergers can often be a train accident because companies with different values but overlapping products are crammed together. But apparently it went pretty smoothly because the products are so complementary and all 70 employees in both companies keep their jobs. “Always is much more from the bottom up, while Torch is about the upper levels, and it just made sense, ”says Garry Tan, partner and co-founder of Initialized Capital, which financed Serie A from Torch and is also a client of the coaching .
How does everyone work? Torch goes deep and conducts extensive 360 interviews with a manager and their reports, employees, and colleagues to assess their empathy, communication, vision, conflict resolution, and collaboration. Customer executives conduct extensive 360 interviews. It sets quantifiable goals that executives work towards through video calls with Torch coaches. They learn to set healthy workplace boundaries, to remain calm, to motivate employees without preaching, and to manage their own egos.
This coaching can be extremely valuable for the managers who determine the strategy and tone of a company. However, one-on-one meetings are usually too expensive to buy for all levels of employees. This is where Everwise comes in.
Everwise goes far and offers a marketplace with 6000 mentors in different job levels and roles, which offers cheaper personal advice or group sessions with 10 employees, all of whom learn from each other. It also provides a mentoring platform where larger companies can teach junior executives exactly what it takes to be successful. It’s all sewn together with a curated and personalized curriculum with online learning materials. In the meantime, a company’s HR team can track everyone’s progress and performance through the Academy Builder dashboard.
“We know that Gen Z grew up with mentors at their side of SAT Prep,” says Torch CMO Cari Jacobs. Everwise lets her stay looked after even in the early stages of her professional life. “As they advance their careers, they may advance to more executive private coaching.” After the merger, Torch can keep her healthy and ambitious throughout the trip.
“It really allows us to improve the market without sacrificing the traction that we’ve built in collaboration with startups and mid-sized companies,” says Yarbrough. Customers include Reddit and ZenDesk, but also giants like Best Buy, Genentech and T-Mobile.
The question is whether Everwise’s materials are so engaging that they won’t just become another employee manual buried on an HR site that no one ever reads. Otherwise, it could feel like a bloat on the torch. When scaling up to larger customers, Torch competes against long-standing pillars of the executive coaching industry, such as Aon and Korn Ferry, which have been around for decades and whose sales amount to billions. In the meantime, new platforms for mental health and coaching such as BetterUp and Sounding Board are emerging.
But the market is huge with so few people getting great coaching right now. “Nobody goes to work and is like,” Man, I wish my boss were less attentive, “jokes Tan. When Yarbrough was his coach, Torch’s CEO taught the investor that many startup employees believe that they live on flexibility, “but people really want love and structure.” Essentially, that’s what Torch is trying to deliver – a feeling of emotional camaraderie mixed with a push to accomplish her fate.