Bill Gates said that everyone needs a coach. Cultivate makes that possible.

Karan Mehandru
Nov 6, 2019 · 4 min read

“Everyone needs a coach. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a basketball player, a tennis player, a gymnast or a bridge player. We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”

- Bill Gates in his viral 2013 TED talk

Can you imagine anyone not wanting to get better at their job? Of course not. We all want to improve — whether that means going to the gym more often or connecting more authentically with customers and co-workers. The hard part isn’t having the intention to improve; the hard part is translating that intention into action.

Throughout every enterprise, there’s a universally shared intention: the desire to help managers improve. As the old adage goes, people join jobs but leave bosses.

Global workforces are filled with generations of first-time managers eager to improve and reach their leadership potential. Employers realize that people are their most precious asset and their greatest differentiator. Therefore, they want to help their managers grow. Improving managers’ skills doesn’t only help the managers themselves while making them feel valued and appreciated — it also helps the employees who work for them, as well as the organization as a whole.

Meanwhile, the talent wars have never been fiercer. Companies need to do everything in their power to attract and retain talent. The issue hasn’t been intent — executives want to provide coaching and support for every manager within their organization. The barriers to action have been two-fold: cost and scale. In-person coaching is slow, expensive and impossible to scale. Surveys measure manager performance, but only at a point in time. Plus, they provide data, not actionable coaching. HR and business leaders need an additional solution in their toolkit.

Introducing Cultivate

Cultivate is a digital leadership coaching platform that leverages AI to provide in-the-moment feedback and management coaching. It leverages machine learning and AI to address one of the most pervasive, universal needs in enterprises today: the need to help managers improve.

Cultivate is the only solution in the market that scales infinitely to help people managers take their leadership skills to the next level. By securely analyzing a manager’s own digital communications with direct reports, Cultivate is able to passively learn and actively coach in an infinitely scalable way.

Cultivate provides instantaneous, easy-to-execute “opportunities” to help managers improve immediately

One of the many things that excites me about Cultivate is the response it generates from users. In a world in which enterprise solutions are increasingly bought, not sold, Cultivate has managed to create a product that is universally loved by its users. In their enterprise roll-outs to-date (all of which are opt-in), engagement isn’t only astoundingly high — it actually grows over time as managers share with each other how much they love the tool. Managers even thank their executives for offering it to them. That’s because Cultivate doesn’t judge, and it doesn’t look backwards on actions that can’t be changed. Instead, it provides instantaneous, easy-to-execute “opportunities,” i.e. gentle, non-judgmental suggestions delivered in the moment to help people improve immediately.

As teams become more distributed, the global footprint of business communications is increasingly moving from offline to online. In other words, what’s already a multibillion-dollar opportunity will only grow exponentially.

Moreover, not only does Cultivate help managers improve immediately, it also helps them become more self-aware. Self-awareness will help them translate their learning into long-term behavior change that extends from online into offline communications. That’s why self-awareness is the number one thing CEOs want from leadership coaching. Except, of course, their coaching costs many thousands of dollars per recipient — unlike Cultivate, which makes coaching accessible to every manager.

Cultivate team members from left to right: Johan Backman, Jie Han, Samir Meghani, Joseph Freed, Andy Horng, Ari Maguire, and Margaret Tomaszczuk

Welcome to the #Trinityfamily, Joe, Samir, Andy and the entire Cultivate team! We’re proud to lead your Series A as together we redefine the Future of Work. You have the vision, the customer-centricity and the deep product expertise to make every manager’s desire for self-awareness and self-improvement a possibility. We’re excited to partner with you to catapult Cultivate to the next level as you scale your operations and bring Cultivate to even more leading employers.

Because, after all, who wouldn’t want the opportunity to improve?

Trinity Ventures

A collection of posts from the Trinity Ventures partnership…