Rising Team: Helping Companies Increase Employee Engagement In Over A $400 Billion Market

By Amit Chowdhry ● Nov 14, 2023

Rising Team is a company that equips managers to build engaged, connected, and successful teams. Pulse 2.0 interviewed Rising Team CEO and founder Jennifer Dulski to learn more.

Jennifer Dulski’s Background

Jennifer Dulski

The throughline of Dulski’s background is a desire to help empower others to reach their highest potential. Dulski said:

“This led me to start my career by founding a nonprofit, Breakthrough Pittsburgh, to help prepare underrepresented students to become first-generation college graduates and then move on to a career in tech. I’ve spent the last 20+ years working in tech, in executive roles at large companies like Google, Meta, and Yahoo!, and also in founder and CEO roles at two startups. I also spent five years as president and COO at Change.org, helping to amplify people’s voices around the world. In 2020, I founded Rising Team, which is the culmination of all these experiences. Rising Team is the product I wish I had as a leader of teams over all these years. We are equipping managers with the tools and training they need to build more connected, engaged, and successful teams.“

Formation Of Rising Team

 How did the idea for the company come together? Dulski shared:

As I took on more leadership responsibility in my career, I was fortunate to be offered training and coaching, and I appreciated those opportunities. However, whenever I went back to my team, it felt like I had been taught to fish and then sent back to the lake with just a book on fishing rather than a fishing pole and bait.”

“I needed more than just information on how to be a good manager; I needed tools to use with my teams. So, over the years, I built my own version of tools—a motivators chart, a user manual, a one-page plan, and more. These tools were the foundation of the Rising Team. I wanted to help every team leader on earth not only learn the key skills to lead high-performing teams but also have the tools to use with their teams to help them develop and connect as well.”

Favorite Memory

What has been your favorite memory working for the company so far? Dulski reflected:

What I love most about building Rising Team is hearing from our customers why they love it and how it is helping their teams and their organizations. We have a Slack channel called #cookie-jar, where we put comments we get from customers and then celebrate them as a team. (We call it ‘cookie jar’ because if we are ever having a down day, we can go pull something out of the cookie jar to help remind us of the importance of what we’re building together).”

“Here is an example of a recent comment in the cookie jar, ‘I really enjoyed my Rising Team session with my team. I think the product is amazing. Humanity in companies should be a must and part of its values without any doubt, and still, it’s hard to find in most of them. I’m proud of my company for implementing these kinds of sessions, but mostly, I’m grateful to you guys for coming up with such a beautiful and HUMAN product. Congratulations, and I hope you keep growing immeasurably.’”

Challenges Faced

 What challenges has Dulski faced in building the company, and has the current macroeconomic climate affected your company? Dulski acknowledged:

The biggest challenge we have currently is awareness. We’re still an early-stage company without large marketing budgets, so most of the companies where we could be adding value haven’t heard of us yet. That awareness will build over time as we scale and as people hear from their peers at other companies about the results we drive.”

“The macroeconomic climate has not hit us too hard since most companies still need a way to develop managers at scale and increase employee engagement and connection, especially on hybrid teams, which are now so common. We are also still a small team, so there are always challenges around how to best prioritize among the many things we could be building next.”

Core Products

What are the company’s core products and features? Dulski explained:

Rising Team is a team development platform helping companies to increase employee engagement, scale talent development, and improve culture and connection. Our software equips managers to run deeply connecting team sessions, remotely or in-person, without needing an outside facilitator. Each Rising Team Kit covers one leadership or connection topic and includes training for the leader and a fun, interactive experience for the team. The software takes care of everything—learning goals, warmups, activities, data summaries, action items, and even countdown timers.”

“Kit themes cover all the science-backed topics that drive high-performing teams, including psychological safety, appreciation, clear expectations, and more. We recommend that teams run two sessions per quarter and follow the weekly behavior change nudges we provide in between sessions. By using the Rising Team platform, managers not only learn the skills we know are needed for effective leadership, but they also consistently practice those skills with their teams, helping them feel supported and valued. Companies can also use the Rising Team software to make their own leadership content into interactive team workshops.”

Evolution Of Rising Team’s Technology

How has the company’s technology evolved since launching? Dulski noted:

”When we first launched our beta product in early 2021, it was designed for managers to use one-on-one with each individual member of their team. While people liked this product, they told us that it had two problems: 1) it took too much time, and 2) it didn’t solve their need for bringing people together as a team, which was especially needed while people were working remotely during the pandemic. So we rebuilt Rising Team into a set of kits that managers could use to create meaningful experiences with their teams, and it solved both of those problems. From there, the product really took off since it addressed a major need and in a format that people loved.”

“We are constantly evolving the product in response to our customer needs as well. For example, we started with just “Development Kits” that focused on the key drivers of high-performing teams, and customers told us they wanted some sessions that focused purely on culture and relationship building, so we added “Connection Kits.” Then they told us they wanted sessions they could use with large groups at offsites, so we built “Jumbo Kits” that will work with up to one thousand people. We will continue to evolve the platform in order to meet the needs of our customers as they evolve.”

Significant Milestones

What have been some of the company’s most significant milestones? Dulski cited:

In addition to the product evolution milestones, We’ve had a few other significant milestones in our progress to date. The first was building out the product into a platform so that companies and other leadership development experts can use Rising Team to turn their own leadership philosophies into measurable, scalable, interactive team workshops.”

“A second major milestone was bringing on our first large, global enterprise customers (we’re now on six continents!), and a third milestone was extending out into other categories. We are currently piloting a version of “Rising Team for Schools” with the faculty and administrators of 18 schools in Australia.”

Customer Success Stories

Upon asking Dulski about customer success stories, she replied: 

Leading companies and organizations are using Rising Team to develop stronger managers and more resilient teams. More than 90% of managers and team members who participate in Rising Team sessions report that they feel more connected, learn something valuable, and will work more effectively together as a team. And companies see a lift in more than 85% of key engagement scores after just three Rising Team sessions.”

“One customer recently ran a test vs control longitudinal study to measure the impact of Rising Team, and they saw a nearly 60% increase in Employee NPS in teams that used Rising Team vs teams that didn’t.”

Funding/Revenue

After asking Dulski about funding/revenue, she pointed out:

“We have raised $6 million in funding to date from investors including Female Founders Fund, Peterson Ventures, Roble Ventures, Burst Capital, GingerBread Capital, Aurum Partners, Xoogler Ventures, 500 Global, SHRMLabs, SuperNode Ventures, and many angel investors. Our revenue is also growing quickly, with ARR up 2.5x over the past year.”

Total Addressable Market

What total addressable market (TAM) size is the company pursuing? Dulski assessed:

“One of the markets we are addressing is the corporate training market, which is projected to grow from $346 billion in 2021 to $493 billion in 2028.”

Differentiation From The Competition

What differentiates the company from its competition? Dulski affirmed:

“Rising Team is the only team development platform that uses an experiential approach to grow teams alongside leaders, rather than focus on the development of leaders alone. This method has a few key benefits. First, leaders learn the material better by actively facilitating the sessions with their teams rather than being a participant in training.”

“Second, team members feel more connected to each other and valued by their managers and organizations when they are included in the sessions vs being left out of traditional leadership development. And third, Rising Team is a much more affordable way for companies to offer experiential learning across their full organization than hiring outside facilitators, which is expensive to scale.”

Future Company Goals

What are some of the company’s future company goals? Dulski replied:

Our goal is to help every team on earth be more connected, engaged, and successful. This means we’ll need to continue expanding the product into more languages and more types of sessions to reach more people and serve more use cases. We’ll also be continuing to leverage AI to help leaders use the insights they are gaining from Rising Team to be even more effective coaches for each individual on their team.”

Additional Thoughts

Any other topics to discuss? Dulski concluded:

One topic that is a major part of the workplace discussion right now is Return To Office (RTO) mandates. Our view is that companies are diminishing trust with their employees by forcing inflexible RTO mandates and that they can create an optimal setup by combining more flexible RTO options with more intentional connection-building experiences.”

“Whether companies use Rising Team or any other tool, the key to highly engaged and high-performing teams is to be intentional about how you make people feel valued, how you develop people to grow their careers over time, and how you prioritize outcomes over ‘time in seat.’”