COVID-19 Startups Venture

Remote Training Startup Hone Scores $2.75M To Build Out Platform

Remote training can be a beat down, as we are all certainly experiencing in one form or fashion during this coronavirus lockdown. But startup Hone is laser focused on changing that.

After turning fantasy sports league, FanDuel, into a billion-dollar company and selling it to Paddy Power Betfair in 2018, former co-founder Tom Griffiths is now ready to do it all over again—this time with remote training platform Hone.

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To aid in that goal, Griffiths and co-founder Savina Perez secured a $2.75 million seed extension round on Tuesday, joined by new investors Firework Ventures and NextGen Venture Partners.

“We plan to continue to build out our unique platform, including a video experience and building more content,” Griffiths said. “We are also making sure we support the inbound demand we are seeing from the [COVID-19] crisis and leadership, in general.”

With the new funding, the 2-year-old San Francisco-based startup has raised a total of $6.4 million, Griffiths said. Existing investors Cowboy Ventures, Harrison Metal, Slack Fund and Reach Capital also participated in the most recent round, as well as Hone’s previous seed round in 2019.

New kind of training

Hone’s training platform combines research-backed, live online classes led by expert executive coaches, with data to reinforce and measure training’s impact at scale, to provide effective remote training. Customers such as GoFundMe, Rosetta Stone, Casper, World Remit and Dashlane are already using the platform, according to the company.

Griffiths told Crunchbase News that it is difficult to get great, live training. Today, companies typically spend thousands to bring everyone to one location, only to have many either constantly get up to take a call or not paying attention. Another option is sending employees to an e-learning library to watch videos.

“Science shows there isn’t much engagement or learning in traditional training, so we’ve combined the interactivity of live training with the convenience and scale of a platform,” he said. “There is also a huge need to up-scale training in a modern way and to measure it.”

Hone has 12 employees and plans to use the new capital to expand when the time is right, Griffiths said.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the company has seen three times the normal demand for courses such as “how to manage people through a crisis,” “leading through challenging times” and “how to do your work from home,” so Griffiths has made those free to access.

In addition, Hone provides leadership training on a number of topics, including how to improve storytelling.

The company says its participants connect with what they are being taught.

“Our data shows that 90 percent of leaders are still using those skills a short time after using our platform,” Griffiths said.

Investor perspective

Jon Bassett, managing partner at NextGen Venture Partners, said Hone’s platform came out of calls with managers who were looking for better training features and accountability.

“What excited us about this platform is that managers use the platform and agree to actions they are going to take,” Bassett said. “Hone sends out reminders and follows up with teams, asking them to add comments on action items for later follow-up. Where other platforms miss that lifecycle and feedback loops, Hone feeds those comments back into attendance systems to ultimately improve team performance.”

Photo caption: A woman using a laptop on a dining room table set up as a remote office to work from home.
Photo credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

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