15Five raises $ 30.7 million to expand its employee development toolkit – TechCrunch


Technology has been used to improve many of the processes we use to get work done. But today a startup raised funds to build technology to improve we, the workers.

15Five, which develops software and services to help organizations and their employees measure performance, as well as set and meet goals, closed $ 30.7 million Series B, money it plans to use to continue to develop the functionalities of its core business. product – self-assessments that take “15 minutes to write, 5 minutes to read” – as well as new services to add to that.

David Hassell, CEO and co-founder of 15Five, did not want to elaborate on what these new services might be, but he recently started a podcast with startup “culture manager” Shane Metcalf on the subject of management of the “best of yourself” which exploits research on organizational development and positive psychology.

As 15Five works to produce these principles in software form, it looks like the side idea will be to integrate more services and coaching into the mix alongside 15Five’s existing SaaS model.

This B Series is led by Next47, the strategic investment arm of manufacturing giant Siemens. Other round entrants included Matrix Partners, PointNine Capital, Jason Calacanis’ LAUNCH fund, Newground Ventures, Bling Capital, Chaifetz Group and Origin Ventures (who ran Series A of 15Five). That brings the total raised to $ 42.6 million, but Hassell said while the valuation is up, the exact number is not being disclosed.

(The company’s previous investors included David Sacks, 500 Startups, and Ben Ling.)

15Five’s growth comes at a time when we are witnessing a significant evolution in the internal functioning of companies. The digital age has made the workforce more decentralized – people using smartphones, video communications, and services like Slack to stay in constant touch while potentially working hundreds of miles from their closest colleagues, or at least not. sitting in one desk, all the time.

That’s all well and good, but it has also had an inevitable impact on how employees are evaluated by their managers, and also on how they are able to evaluate their performance against those with whom they work. So while one-type communication – transmitting information from one person to another over great distances – has flourished thanks to technology, you could argue that another type of communication – of the human race – was lost.

15Five’s approach is to focus on creating an easy way for employees to think through and set goals on a regular basis.

Indeed, “regular” is the key word here, the key element being the frequency. Many companies, especially large ones, are already using performance management software (other players in this space include BetterWorks, Lattice, and PeopleGoal, among others), but in many cases it is based on self-assessments. that you can do each year, or six months apart.

The goal of 15Five is to provide a service that people will use much more often than that. In fact, he encourages using it all the time, sending each other praise when something positive happens (he calls these “high fives” quite appropriately), as well as regular reviews and goals set by employees. themselves.

Hassell said in an interview that this is what modern workplaces and young employees expect today, fueled in part by the rise of social media.

“Most millennials will have more feedback on what they eat for breakfast than what they do at work,” he said. “The rest of our life exists in a real-time feedback loop, filled with continuous positive reinforcement, but then you go to work and have an annual or maybe semi-annual performance review?” It is simply not enough.

He said he knew millennial workers who said they wouldn’t work at a company if it wasn’t using or already considering adopting 15Five, and since talent is the lifeblood of a company’s success, it could have a significant impact.

The startup was born in San Francisco in more ways than one. He’s based there, but also, his tenets seem to be uniquely the product of the kind of self-reflection and emphasis on self-care / quality of life that has been associated with California culture for some time now. , even in the midst of the relentless march that comes with being at the epicenter of the tech world.

In this regard, its new investor, Next47, will help put 15Five to the test, both in terms of how the product will be adopted and used in a company whose holdings are as much manufacturing as technological, and in terms of size: Siemens has approximately 400,000 employees worldwide, a significant increase from the small and medium-sized businesses that today form 15Five’s core customer base.

Matthew Cowan, a partner at the company, noted that while Siemens is not currently a user of 15Five, the thinking behind the investment was strategic and the idea will be to integrate it into company practices to help employees to progress.

“It’s very representative of how the workplace is transforming,” he said.


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