Media & Entertainment

Teamraderie, a B2B MasterClass-style platform for team building, raises $7M


NASCAR-themed swag by Teamraderie
Image Credits: Teamraderie

The growing trends of hiring and running remote workforces, and more recently the major upheaval of restructuring across a number of industries, have redefined and disrupted the concept of teams at work. Even as some return to the office, many of us don’t see each other face-to-face, and even if we have checked in together virtually or in person, our groups of colleagues might be rapidly shifting around. Now, a startup that’s built a platform to run events to help work teams feel more connected to each other is announcing some funding on the back of strong demand for itself services.

Teamraderie, which provides short, live virtual classes and other content led by experts across different categories used in team-building events alongside software to manage the experiences and run feedback on the impact of the events, has raised $7 million, funding that it will be using to expand its platform with more content and to more customers.

The startup’s roster of stars running 45-minute courses includes icons like former gymnasts Nadia Comaneci and Bart Conner, Pulitzer Prize-winner Marcia Chatelain and Chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov; and it counts Google, IBM, Twitter, Cisco, Microsoft and Intuit among its 200 customers, and says that it has run classes covering some 50,000 people to date across some 50 countries. (Pricing for the service starts at $300 and varies depending on the content, number of users and whether the company is a subscriber or using Teamraderie à la carte.)

Founders Fund is leading the round, and Teamraderie said that a raft of more than 12 “Chief Human Resource Officers and Chief People Officers” are also participating (which speaks to who it targets as customers). The company has now raised around $9 million, and from what we understand, this Series A values the company at around $60 million.

The rise of Teamraderie is coming at a moment of rapid evolution in the world of work, buffeted as it has been by the forces of COVID, layoffs and changing consumer habits.

The wider category of “productivity software” has definitely had a boost to address the shift in how we work today — Zoom has become a kind of palimpsest for a wide range of video collaboration tools; Slack is one of dozens of virtual chat platforms; workflow and project management have gone well beyond Asana and Trello; and so on and so forth. But even when all the other productivity boxes have been checked, Teamraderie speaks to another challenge that exists in the workplace, specifically the knowledge worker workplace, that of improving our relationships with each other as a route to working better together.

At its heart, Teamraderie is a little like MasterClass-meets-LinkedIn Learning, but focused just on business users and potentially used with physical props used as part of the session.

As with other team-building concepts, the idea is to place people into unfamiliar environments, and away from discussions related to their actual work, to refocus their attention on working together, thinking collaboratively and getting to know each other better. (One example: A NASCAR presenter who — in the words of Michael McCarroll, Teamraderie’s CEO and co-founder — “reinvented the tire change” will lead a team through a tire change on a car model.)

“Our reason for being is to ensure that teams can really collaborate effectively,” McCarroll said in an interview. Teams have a whole range of relationships, and it can be a challenge to really get to know people and understand different perspectives when either your team is shifting around, or you don’t work directly with everyone in a physical environment, he continued: “We want to get teams to a point where every member sees every other member as human. If you feel more connected and understand and care what other people have to say on your team, you get more value.”

Alongside the media and content aspect of its platform, Teamraderie also provides tech to measure the effectiveness of the sessions. McCarroll said that this, and the main concepts behind Teamraderie, have been built out of research from Harvard Business School, Stanford University, MIT and the University of Chicago around productivity, support and inclusiveness in the workplace. But because these will be those, in our quantified workplaces and world, that will need to know the impact and the ROI for all of this, the idea will be to invest in building more tools to help improve those measurements, too, and to use that to continue growing Teamraderie.

“We use data to customize and develop the product,” McCarroll said. “We’re not just a content company.”

There may also be more investment made in aid of scaling all of this, too. Today the “sweet spot” for the most effective class sizes is 15 or fewer participants, McCarroll said, with larger groups in general tending to what he referred to as “social loafing” — that is, no longer engaging. This presents an interesting challenge to Teamraderie (and really to any tech product aimed at improving remote productivity): how can you get the same impact while delivering your product to groups larger than this?

Keith Rabois, who led the investment for Founders Fund, said in an interview that the funding environment for startups, regardless of whether it is early- or later-stage, is most definitely tightening up. He said that in 2022 so far, he’s offered “only two term sheets to new companies” (not including those already in the portfolio), versus “twelve or thirteen” by this point in 2021. Teamraderie was an easy investment, though, not just because it’s doing something different, and seeing traction with notable customers, but because of the unit economics. “It’s basically breakeven, which is unusual for a company at this stage of growth,” he said.

More TechCrunch

Ahead of the AI safety summit kicking off in Seoul, South Korea later this week, its co-host the United Kingdom is expanding its own efforts in the field. The AI…

UK opens office in San Francisco to tackle AI risk

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

9 hours ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

2 days ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

2 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities