Hone, a human-powered platform for leadership training, nabs $16 million

As the Great Resignation builds, corporations and organizations are looking for bigger and better ways to retain talent. One of the most popular ways to do that, right now, is to offer to employees better tools around personal development and career growth.

Hone, a startup backed by Cowboy Ventures, is looking to do just that.

The company is today announcing the close of a $16 million Series A funding round led by F-Prime Capital, with participation from Cowboy Ventures, NextGen Venture partners, Slack Fund, Gaingels and SemperVirens.

Specifically, Hone focuses on leadership training within organizations with live, intimate online classes led by a coach. New students will enter into a four-week bootcamp, with topics selected by the company. From there, they have unlimited access to Hone classes throughout the year.

There are plenty of corporate training topics that don’t necessarily require live sessions, such as security and data protection. But when it comes to having tough conversations with employees, coaching them through a challenge, or leading discussions on diversity and inclusion, strong communication and interpersonal skills are absolutely necessary.

Hone provides a platform that gives managers the tools they need, and lets them practice those skills, without bringing them to an in-person two-day conference that has no real lasting effect.

Moreover, Hone’s software makes it really easy to schedule across different geographies and time zones with our now-commonplace distributed workforces, letting senior leaders at the company focus on the important stuff.

Personal development and leadership training has become an incredibly hot space in the past couple of years. Chief has raised $40 million, Medley has come on to the scene with a fresh take around group learning and Inclusivv is another player getting in on this sector.

“One of the biggest challenges is meeting the demand we’re seeing right now,” said co-founder Savina Perez. “Global organizations are coming to us, so being able to deliver for them, thinking about localization and translation, is something that keeps me up.”

Co-founder Tom Griffiths added that it’s tougher to scale a business like Hone, which has so much human input, rather than a standard SaaS product.

Thus far, the company has attracted over 100 customers (organizations), which represents 400% YoY growth. Hone does 300 classes per month and has a team of 30 people, with 50% of the team being female and 43% being people of color.