Businesses across the economy are struggling to stay afloat amid the coronavirus crisis, but a handful of technology companies stand to gain from the widespread shutdown orders that have thousands of people working from home.
Companies that provide remote workplace collaboration tools have seen their stock surge as others plummet. Investors see similar potential in a Seattle startup that helps managers video chat with one another to share advice and network.
Imperative announced $3 million round of funding Tuesday, led by Voyager Capital. The startup will use the money to accelerate the development of its peer coaching product. Imperative is also using the funds to bring on Nikhil Singhal as CTO, formerly of Microsoft, Expedia, and AT&T. Diane Fraiman, managing director of Voyager Capital, and DocuSign founder Court Lorenzini will join the board of Imperative.
“We are seeing a lot more demand from companies but also from their employees who are hungry for true connection,” said Imperative CEO Aaron Hurst. “Zoom calls are not enough for people to truly feel connected.”
Imperative’s platform connects managers for one-on-one peer coaching conversations. The conversation is structured around questions and topics set by Imperative. Over the past month, the most common topics revolved around navigating the new normal and needing support and connection, Hurst said.
Before launching Imperative, Hurst founded Taproot Foundation, a nonprofit that created a national pro bono marketplace. He also penned the book “The Purpose Economy.”
The new automated peer coaching platform connects managers in rotating pairs via video call. Imperative says the peer coaching product has 120,000 users and 40 corporate clients.
“We are enabling employees to work in pairs to master leadership, career development, and management skills rather than relying on instructor lead training or online content,” Hurst said. “They are able to work together over time to reflect on the application of the skills between their conversations so they are truly changing behavior and learning in real-time.”
Imperative has raised a total of $5 million since launching in 2013. Other investors include Sand Hill Angels, Gaingels, and Deepwork Capital. Imperative’s advisors and angel investors include Trello and Stack Overflow founder Joel Spolsky and Fabio Rosati, former CEO of Upwork.
Imperative plans on hiring at least 10 employees this year as it expands the platform.