Coaching Platform Sounding Board Raises $13.1 Million

By Dan Anderson ● Feb 6, 2021
  • Sounding Board — a premier cloud-based coaching platform — announced that it closed an oversubscribed $13.1 million Series A funding. These are the details.

Sounding Board — a premier cloud-based coaching platform — announced that it closed an oversubscribed $13.1 million Series A funding round led by Canaan Partners. And Canaan was joined by Correlation Ventures, existing investors Bloomberg Beta, Precursor Ventures, 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).

Sounding Board’s solution enables enterprises to seamlessly manage, scale, and measure coaching on one unified platform. And proprietary AI-Powered tools remove the administrative burden around coach matching, scheduling, and program management to allow coaching to scale broadly. The company’s clear competitive advantage is a scalable, adaptive approach to leadership development that is personalized to the learning style and cadence of each individual.

Last year, the overnight shift to remote work caused by COVID-19 accelerated enterprise demand for Sounding Board’s Coaching Enablement Platform and managed coach network. And the digital coaching market is estimated at $30 billion by 2025 with explosive ‘hockey stick’ growth as enterprises move to virtual and scalable coaching solutions.

Sounding Board’s unique approach and customizable platform focus on coaching for business outcomes versus individual health & wellness. And Sounding Board solves the most challenging problems facing companies today – which is the ability to quickly develop leaders for measurable business impact, at scale, in times of rapid change. And 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.

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. And Sounding Board’s solution allows enterprises to seamlessly manage, scale, and measure coaching on one unified platform.

The proprietary AI-Powered tools remove the administrative burden around coach matching, scheduling, and program management to allow coaching to scale broadly.  And 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 have seen major improvements across key capabilities, including a 173% increase in the ability to successfully interact with others across all functions.

KEY QUOTES:

“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. 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.”

“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.”

— Christine Tao, Sounding Board CEO, who co-founded the company in 2016 with her executive coach Lori Mazan, President & Chief Coaching Officer

“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.” 

— Maha Ibrahim, General Partner at Canaan. Ibrahim will join Sounding Board’s all-female Board of Directors effective immediately.

“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. 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.”

— Ashton Stockstill, Learning & Diversity Partner at Cloudera

“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.”

— Sounding Board Co-Founder and Chief Coaching Officer Lori Mazan