Leadership Acceleration Platform Ceresa Raises Over $1 Million

By Noah Long ● August 6, 2020
  • Austin, Texas-based Ceresa, a next-generation leadership acceleration platform that is driving a new era of diverse leaders, announced that it has closed an early seed round of over $1 million

Austin, Texas-based Ceresa, a next-generation leadership acceleration platform that is driving a new era of diverse leaders, announced that it has closed an early seed round of over $1 million led by LiveOak Venture Partners and Next Coast Venture Partners. Ceresa was founded in 2018 by former McKinsey partner Anna Robinson and tech executive Nicole Tanzillo.

Ceresa is on a mission to democratize access to transformative leadership development, making it available for all. And the funds will primarily be used to expand product development of the data-driven personalized platform, further deepening value to its user base of aspiring leaders and forward-thinking employers.

Ceresa is radically rethinking leadership development and mentoring to help all stakeholders address a massive leadership access gap. The gap is prevalent across small- to large-sized companies of every size, which is illustrated by the persistent lack of leadership diversity across global organizations. In Fortune 500 companies, there are less than 10% female CEOs and less than 1% black CEOs — which barely changed in a generation.

In order to address this gap, the nine-month tech-enabled Ceresa Leadership Accelerator provides aspiring leaders with 100% virtual coaching, mentoring, and support, both at home and at work. And the platform is grounded in a fresh approach to intentional career management, enabling future leaders to achieve their biggest leadership aspirations.

Since the recent full launch, Ceresa has attracted hundreds of users from top-tier corporations and is receiving industry-leading engagement rates (90%+) and excellent satisfaction ratings. And the whole-person approach is particularly impactful in today’s climate.

Ceresa offers employers a turnkey solution for affordable leadership development. And this helps ensure their talent investments foster true diversity in leadership, bringing out the best in all talent and having a real and lasting impact.


“I am literally the poster child for Ceresa. I would buy the t-shirt if you sold them. I can’t believe the match to my mentor and how transformative it has been during a really tough time.”

— A Ceresa participant (Senior Program Manager at a global tech enterprise company)

“We believe that the lack of diverse leadership in corporations today is not because of a skills gap, it’s an access gap. There is a lack of access to role models, mentors, coaches, and high-impact leadership resources for underrepresented groups. Companies need this more than ever – as they seek ways to support remote teams and offer rigorous support to diverse leaders. Ceresa is the solution to this massive challenge.”

— Anna Robinson, co-founder and CEO at Ceresa

“Enterprises across the world are eagerly looking for scalable and efficient approaches to develop their employees into leaders of tomorrow. Ceresa, with a novel technology-enabled platform has quickly surged as a leader to tackle this vast, underserved market and already demonstrated evidence of huge business and cultural impact for some of the thought-leading corporations in this arena. With its impressive founding team that has both domain and deep product strengths, this investment matches the LiveOak thesis of backing strong entrepreneurs in emerging leaders that have incredible transformative potential.”

— Krishna Srinivasan, Founding Partner at LiveOak Venture Partners

“Ceresa is changing the face of leadership development – bringing together a user-first platform with a modern leadership curriculum to transform how enterprises develop their talent. From our first discussions with Anna and Nicole, we saw the potential of their vision and, at the same time, how tightly it aligned to our investment theme of the Future of Work. We are excited about what’s to come.”

— Michael Smerklo, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Next Coast Ventures