Austin-based edtech startup Verb has raised a seed funding of $6.4 million from angel investors including Brett Hurt, Nav Sooch, Andy Roddick, Leon Chen and Barshop Ventures.
Started in 2013, Verb is a learning and development platform that provides innovative online workplace leadership training that combines individual skill development, mentorship and regular peer learning for a whole person development. It teaches skills that empower employees to know themselves, how to improve themselves, know others, and how to improve others. The startup offers original content delivered in bite-sized activities.
Verb was started as a simple business plan competition for socially innovative entrepreneurs. According to its co-founder and CEO Suzi Sosa, the startup has transformed throughout its lifetime. When the startup first started out, it led social innovation competitions for big brands like Dell, MetLife and IBM. Today, Verb provides people all over the world with the skills they need to succeed, unlock and cultivate their potential.
Emphasizing the importance of better leadership training and building soft skills for employees, Suzi Sosa said,
“Millennial employees were aging into their first management positions, and companies needed better leadership training for them. Companies have discovered that the thing that’s holding back employees is not their technical skills, but actually soft skills – their leadership skills.”
“We’re in a moment in time where even the understanding of soft skills is changing. Once upon a time, soft skills were giving and receiving feedback or setting goals. And now, it’s the things like mindfulness, self-awareness and unconscious bias.”
Verb uses a blended learning model to teach both traditional leadership skills and modern ones. It offers individual micro-learning, paired learning, and group learning programs. Users learn through a series of bite-sized micro-lessons and group learning classes to practice new skills with a team. They are also paired with a mentor to discuss and review their progress and set future goals.
The company said that with the new funding, it plans to ramp up its brand and product teams by about 50 percent in the next year to accelerate the development of its B2B SaaS platform. Currently, Verb’s team is made up of about 30 entrepreneurs, educators and creatives.
Verb believes that employees developed as a whole person are more productive, adaptable, and loyal. It strives to help them get there. The company’s continuous learning cycle reinforces learning with experiential and collaborative activities helping employees feel more productive and fulfilled at work.