FOSTER CITY, Calif. — Jan. 22, 2021 — Sounding Board, Inc, the premier cloud-based coaching platform, announced the close of an oversubscribed $13.1M Series A funding led by Canaan Partners. Canaan is joined by Correlation Ventures, existing investors Bloomberg Beta, Precursor Ventures, and learning luminaries David Blake (Chairman & founder at Degreed), Kevin Johnson (former CEO at Udemy), Ed Miller (former CEO at NovoEd), and Brett Queener (former President at SmartRecruiters).
During 2020, the overnight shift to remote work caused by COVID-19 accelerated enterprise demand for Sounding Board’s Coaching Enablement Platform™ and managed coach network. The digital coaching market is estimated at $30B by 2025*, with explosive ‘hockey stick’ growth as enterprises move to virtual, scalable coaching solutions. Sounding Board’s unique approach and customizable platform focus on coaching for business outcomes versus individual health & wellness. Sounding Board solves the most challenging problems facing companies today – the ability to quickly develop leaders for measurable business impact, at scale, in times of rapid change. Their solution has attracted global enterprises including Bloomberg, Kraft Heinz, Intel, VMWare, Cloudera as well as rapid-growth startups such as Chime, Plaid, and Dropbox.
“Coaching broke through in 2020 as the go-to model for personalized leadership development. Demand for digital-first coaching platforms like Sounding Board accelerated as companies scrambled to shift their talent development strategies online,” stated Christine Tao, Sounding Board CEO who co-founded the company in 2016 with her executive coach, Lori Mazan, President & Chief Coaching Officer. “Sounding Board saw record growth heading into 2021, pointing to the market’s urgent need for virtual solutions that are scalable and cost-effective. Our platform brings a systematic, data-driven approach to a traditionally service-driven industry – with measurable impact on the business.”
“Coaching is at an inflection point – it’s a massive opportunity and the timing is right. Sounding Board is the only company providing leadership development designed to drive business goals, unlike the many companies providing coaching for health and wellness,” noted Maha Ibrahim, General Partner at Canaan. Ibrahim will join Sounding Board’s all-female Board of Directors effective immediately.
Beyond simply delivering coaching virtually, Sounding Board goes to the next level, providing a complete, end-to-end, cloud-based coaching platform that supports a dynamic coaching ecosystem for the enterprise. Sounding Board’s solution allows enterprises to seamlessly manage, scale, and measure coaching on one unified platform. Proprietary AI-Powered tools remove the administrative burden around coach matching, scheduling, and program management to allow coaching to scale broadly. Its clear competitive advantage is a scalable, adaptive approach to leadership development that is personalized to the learning style and cadence of each individual. Clients saw major improvements across key capabilities, including a 173% increase in the ability to successfully interact with others across all functions.*
“Finding scalable and customizable solutions for developing leaders is challenging in the most perfect of environments; finding something that will work within a hypergrowth and dispersed tech organization is even harder”, noted Ashton Stockstill, Learning & Diversity Partner at Cloudera. Sounding Board has been that solution and I could not be more pleased with the outcomes. Since partnering with them, I’ve been able to execute quickly with two organizations to provide immediate impact without compromising efficiency and quality.”
“Because enterprise growth and innovation is driven by capable leadership, having a strong bench of leaders has become a sustainable competitive advantage. Our clients appreciate that the Sounding Board Coaching Enablement Platform was purpose-built for coaching and solves their unique needs, including actionable data insights across all coaching programs. This is reflected in our key capabilities measurements and high NPS score of 81.” said Co-Founder and Chief Coaching Officer, Lori Mazan.
“Every company will be adopting a technology platform to enable coaching at scale over the next 5 years and Sounding Board plans to be the company to create the ecosystem around our unique coaching enablement platform, just like Salesforce did with CRM,” added Tao.
About Sounding Board
Sounding Board disrupted a decades-long and well-established coaching business model that was costly, and in a domain exclusive to senior executives. With the goal of democratizing access to coaching globally, Sounding Board was one of the first to market with a virtual 1:1 coaching program that achieved the economics necessary to expand access to leadership coaching throughout an organization with a specific focus on sustainable leadership capabilities that tie directly to business impact. Sounding Board’s best-in-class coach network covers over 60 countries and 15+ languages around the globe. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
About Canaan Partners
Canaan is an early-stage venture capital firm that invests in entrepreneurs with visionary ideas. With $5B under management, a diversified fund, and hundreds of exits to date, we partner with entrepreneurs building the next generation of technology and healthcare companies that will transform how we live, work and thrive. To learn more about our people and our portfolio, please visitwww.canaan.com.