Task Human, a professional development platform focused on coaching, today announced it has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Madrona with participation from Impact Venture Capital, RingCentral Ventures, Sure Ventures, USVP, Gaingels, PeopleTech Angels, Propel(x ) and Zoom Ventures. The latest infusion brings the company’s total revenue to $35 million, which CEO Ravi Swaminathan says will be spent on product development, marketing and sales efforts.
Swaminathan and Daniel Mazzella co-founded TaskHuman in 2017, with the aim of connecting users with specialists on topics related to their personal and professional lives. Swaminathan was previously a Program and Logistics Manager at Dell and VP of Software Solutions at SanDisk, while Mazzella was a Systems Administrator at Stamps.com. The two met at Wizr, a startup developing AI systems to analyze images from security cameras.
“When it comes to learning and personal development, don’t watch generic articles or pre-recorded videos [can replace] a real person with experience in a particular area. Creating TaskHuman was our response to solve this challenge,” Swaminathan told gotechbusiness.com in an emailed Q&A. “We started by providing basic needs including health and wellness, physical fitness, mental, spiritual, emotional well-being and more. Since then, we have continued to expand and support an individual’s full needs for personal and professional growth, such as financial wellness, sales and leadership coaching, pet training, travel planning and more.”
TaskHuman users connect with experts through live video chats. The company claims to have a network of more than 1,000 “coaches” in nearly 50 countries, each specializing in distinctive areas. An AI-powered search allows users to search for topics and coaches in natural language (e.g. “I want to lose weight”), while a recommendation engine attempts to personalize the browsing experience by, for example, suggesting similar coaches based on past sessions.
“TaskHuman has a direct relationship with each coach and we pay them for their coaching contributions according to the terms of our relationship. They are all global contractors,” Swaminathan said when asked about the payment structure for coaching.
Users can purchase access to the TaskHuman network with “TaskHuman minutes,” which can be applied to a chat session with a specialist or subject, Swaminathan says. Alternatively, companies can subscribe to TaskHuman to provide unrestricted access to their employees, as well as in-app content and group sessions.
Swaminathan states that the company in particular benefits from the TaskHuman platform. It’s true that corporate training programs are often a mixed bag, with only 25% of respondents on a McKinsey questionnaire say their company’s training improved their job performance. according to another questionnaire75% of managers were dissatisfied with their company’s learning and development function in 2019.
“At the board and C-suite levels, many companies view insufficient attention to employee wellbeing as a threat to productivity and, conversely, a strong commitment to the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of each employee as a competitive advantage for recruiting and retaining talent in a time of labor shortages and the ‘great layoff’,” Swaminathan said. “From case studies, we found return on investment in four main areas: preventing burnout, reducing employee turnover, improving employee engagement and recruitment, and reducing medical expense claims.”
The competition in the crowded e-learning field includes BetterUp, CoachHub, and Torch. However, Swaminathan states that his company’s offerings are broader and provide superior access to specialists as there are no pre-scheduled sessions.
“We found that the pandemic really allowed people to step outside their comfort zones and embrace video technologies like TaskHuman, Zoom, RingCentral and others,” Swaminathan said. “We feel the need to accelerate our mission in these difficult times to help people in both their personal and professional lives, and we feel an urgency to combat the current mental health crisis and the Great Resignation culture by meeting the massive desire for 1:1, personalized engagement for personal and professional growth.”
TaskHuman has certainly benefited from the pandemic, which has pushed all types of coaches to go online. According to a 2021 questionnaire by the International Coaching Federation, 83% of coaches increased their use of audio-video platforms for coaching during the health crisis, while 82% saw a decrease for face-to-face sessions.
TaskHuman says its clients Zoom, Dr. Scholl’s, RingCentral, and public and government agencies such as Purdue University, Oakland Housing Authority, and Job Corps centers are operated by the United States Department of Labor. Although Swaminathan refused to disclose financial data, he said that the annual recurring revenue has grown more than 5 times year on year.
“Our company is focused on expanding and scaling its network of coaches globally,” said Swaminathan. “We will continue to expand the human experience and expertise available on the platform and expand support for providers in even more languages and countries around the world.”