Sharpist, an data-powered digital coaching provider, has raised $23M (€20M) in a Series A funding round. The round was co-led by Endeit Capital and Capnamic, with participation from select business angels, including Julien Codorniou, the former VP of Workplace at Meta.
The round also saw participation from French venture studio Founders Future, Porsche Ventures, and existing investors Vorwerk Ventures and btov Partners. Sharpist plans to use the funding to further its product experience and accelerate European expansion.
Dutch-based Endeit Capital is a growth capital firm fueling internationalisation and innovation since 2006. With local Partner teams in the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden, Endeit specialises in boosting European tech scale-ups that have outgrown the start-up phase.
Martijn Hamann, Co-Owner and Partner at Endeit Capital, says, “By supporting Sharpist, we are further executing our belief in Intelligent Empowerment. Sharpist is a prime example as it connects the next generation workforce with selected and certificated coaches through their data-driven platform.”
Sharpist makes employee learning digital and personal
Founded in 2018, Sharpist is a people development platform founded by Fabian Niedballa and Hendrik Schriefer in Berlin. With over 100 employees and plans to double the number in 2022, the startup calls itself an “outcome-driven platform for people development” and focuses on delivering 1:1 digital coaching sessions.
Sharpist has grown steadily since 2018 and has organically evolved the platform into a market leader in digital coaching. With over 500 coaches and support for more than 30 languages, the startup provides companies with personal business coaches from an international network of certified coaches.
These coaches are available on mobile as well as the web app and are supplemented with personalised learning content. The corporate learning and development market is estimated to become a $300B+ market and Sharpist wants to capitalise on its leadership in the segment.
The startup claims to have more than 90 per cent engagement among its learners and the founders say its dedication to customer experience is a crucial element to success. “The fresh capital allows us to further invest in our industry-defining product experience and gradually position Sharpist as the market leader for digital coaching in Europe,” says Hendrik Schriefer, CEO and Co-Founder of Sharpist.
With the Series A funding, Sharpist plans to accelerate its growth across Europe and aims to primarily focus on product experience. It also plans to expand to new markets, including the UK and Ireland. The startup plans to open its London branch in the coming months.
“We plan to bring our leading coaching and people development experience to other promising regions, starting with the UK and Ireland. We are excited to partner with our new investors Endeit Capital, Capnamic and Porsche Ventures on our mission to become the leading platform for career and people development – we will substantially benefit from their vast experience in building strong, multi-national leaders,” adds Schriefer.
As enterprises struggle to retain talent and find new talent, Sharpist’s digital learning platform could become the difference between a company retaining talent and one losing them. The Berlin-based startup already counts STRABAG, Franke, and Otto Group among its clients and added Zalando, Metro, and BASF during the fourth quarter of 2021.
How does Sharpist work?
Sharpist is an app that resides on your smartphone and offers personalised learning sessions aimed at professionals looking to improve their focus and productivity. It does this with the help of a dedicated coach, who is an experienced manager capable of providing an external perspective.
The startup also looks at the individual needs of each person joining its platform and tailors their journey accordingly. The goals-driven approach means that each person will have a different experience in their journey towards leadership experience on the platform. It also offers micro-tasks in between coaching sessions for a more personalised learning experience.
It hires top-rated coaches, with 80 per cent having management and executive experience. Sharpist says 70 per cent of its coaches have over 15 years of relevant coaching experience and it takes at least 1,000 hours of coaching to join the sharpist network. Hamann joined the platform as a learner to experience.
Martijn Hamann’s coaching experience
Hamann says he approaches personal coaching as a deeper psychological process but the Sharpist experience was one driven by “practical business approach”. He found the short questionnaire process in the app to be intuitive and the platform determined his coaching needs and topics of interest within a few minutes.
The platform then suggested to him one or more coaches to choose from and the selected coach immediately gets inputs on coaching needs of Hamann. Once the first live intake conversation is done, Hamann gets the option to continue with the next session or opt for an alternative coach.
He explains that the coach connected to him was an experienced CFO, business strategist and leadership development coach. “He works remotely from his home in Geneva and is a very discrete, pleasant, professional person to interact with,” Hamann says.
“It helps me to speak with someone who has a very credible background in combination with a coaching talent to understand my goals. He pragmatically provides me with tools/thoughts to unlock a durable change,” Hamann adds about his Sharpist coaching experience.