Everwise, a New York-based company whose online service connects executives willing to volunteer their time with people looking for mentorship — from new entrepreneurs, to budding sports coaches, to people looking to rise through the ranks of Fortune 500 companies — is taking the wraps off the bigger business that it’s been quietly building over the the past year. Now, the three-year-old, 40-person outfit has become what it’s calling an “integrated platform management for talent development.”
The cornerstone of the technology has long worked by plugging data from a user’s LinkedIn profile — and from a personalized questionnaire that he or she answers — into an algorithm that essentially points that person to an executive from another company who has volunteered to be part of the service.
But Everwise has thrown a number of new bells and whistles into the mix. For example, a user is still assigned a mentor, but he or she is also provided with curated content from around the web based on the recommendations that Everwise mentors have made in the past, including which books to read and TED talks to watch. Customers can also be included in peer groups suited to their needs.
Users can establish development goals — or import them from their company’s HR system after a performance review — and track their progress against them.
Assessments — including via the famed Myers-Briggs indicator and Strengthsfinders program – are also incorporated into the platform so users can ostensibly gain a deeper understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses.
There’s a human element, too, in the form an “experience manager,” whose responsibility it is to help participants identify and prioritize their goals. “We think people are accountable to people, not to software,” says cofounder and CEO Mike Bergelson.
As for some of the company’s metrics, Bergelson isn’t being overly specific. He says “thousands” of mentors from 70 countries and 130 industries are now volunteering to spend 10 hours over six months helping “thousands” of Everwise protégés. (Asked what’s in it for the mentors, Bergelson says most are either looking to give back or pay it forward, not as a way to recruit or drum up consulting work.)
He also tells us that 100 companies are providing the service to employees. Many of those customers are paying $150 a month per employee. (That’s one-tenth the cost of executive coaching, insists Bergelson.) But Everwise also now has several dozen companies — including the publicly traded biotechnology company Gilead Sciences and Richard Branson’s foundation Virgin Unite — licensing its software so they can run it themselves.
Everwise isn’t yet profitable, but investors apparently like what they see. Along with its expanded platform, Everwise is today announcing a previously undisclosed $8 million in Series A funding from Canvas Ventures, Sequoia Capital and Webb Investment Network. (The money was raised in December of last year.)
Part of that money is being used to add even more features to the platform, says Bergelson. It’s also helping the company to expand globally.
The India-based telecommunications giant Tata Communications is already one of its customers; Everwise, which is also doing work in Asia and Western Europe, will also be launching in Australia in January.