Valence raises $25 million to track team performance and provide constant reviews.
Valence Valence, an expanding teamwork platform, is today announcing that it has raised $25 million in the Series A round, which was led by Insight Partners. Chief Executive Officer and cofounder Parker Mitchell said that the tranche will be used to double the size of Valence’s team to 75 people, increase its market reach (particularly across Europe), and expand Valence’s product development team.
What is what is a “teamwork platform,” exactly? Mitchell defines it as an array of tools to support development and growth, specifically coaches that are based on teams, within a company. Valence lets managers monitor the team’s performance using specific parameters and, if they feel it is essential, intervene by using “guided conversations.”
“I believe that a brand new type of digital tool based on teamwork will come into existence. They will concentrate on collaboration and learning as teams, the place where work gets done. The tool will use the top methods that facilitators and coaches provide to the best teams, and then make these accessible to any manager. “As a result, it will alter the way individuals work together as they learn and develop in their work environment,” Mitchell told TechCrunch in an interview via email. “At Valence, we believe that one of the most important skills people can build is the muscle of working better with a wider range of people, so we create tools that allows team leaders to develop and allow people to cooperate better with their colleagues and fellow team members.”
Mitchell co-founded Valence, which is located in New York, together with Levi Goertz. In the past, prior to Valence, Mitchell was a consultant at McKinsey and was also the co-founder of the nonprofit Engineers without Borders and Significance Labs and Significance Labs which was later merged in the Robin Hood Foundation. Goertz was a consultant for many years with Engineers without Borders and was also a McKinsey associate. He also co-founded his own business, Viamo, where he served as the company’s CEO for four years.
Mitchell states that Valence’s methods are based on his previous experience working in and managing large companies. In particular that the platform includes team members taking surveys asking respondents to assess the credibility of statements such as “We make decisions quickly” and “We focus on the most important things.” Based on the answers, Valence generates a discussion guide for managers and area-of-focus suggestions.
With Valence, teams and managers can create an agreed-upon plan and then revisit the plan every few months to check how they’re progressing and also discover new problems as they arise.
“The problems that companies face in growing hybrid workplaces and ensuring retention in this environment are made more difficult by the fact that employees don’t have the education and development opportunities they ought to. “Thus, Valence uses the basic concepts of facilitation, teamwork, and leadership, as well as learning and growth, and translates these into a system,” Mitchell explained. “There are a flurry of tools that provide capabilities just focused on performance activity tracking, [but Valence’s platform] focuses on the elements of collaboration and helps teams and leaders deepen trust.”
Valence is also encouraging employees and teams to make a commitment to new routines, for example, by dedicating quiet time to work and sending reminder emails. It also offers personality tests that allow teams to identify which colleagues prefer structure, but also more flexibility.
Valence is gaining a lot of traction for sure; it has clients that include Fortune 500 brands like Coca-Cola, Boston Scientific, Illumina, and Applied Materials. However, just like rival systems for managing performance (e.g., Humanyze and Lattice), the system is only able to achieve this without the support of management. As per Gallup research, employees whose managers engage them in setting objectives are four times more likely to be more engaged, yet just 30% of them experience this. An alarmingly large number of companies employed spreadsheets just two decades ago as the main method of tracking results.
There are those who may be uncomfortable with the methods of Valence and, in particular, the use of personality tests. (A recent article published in The New York Times called psychometric tests like Myers-Briggs and the DiSC model and the Color Code “the astrology of the workplace.”) Mitchell suggests Valence as an economical alternative to coaching by a professional. It’s not clear how effectively surveys, semi-regular conversations, and emails can substitute for one-on-one instruction.
Even if Valence isn’t perfect in some aspects, Mitchell claims that it’s far superior to the standard all-inclusive set of courses the majority of companies use.
“Top leaders get game-changing investments in order to create these teams. Facilitators and coaches can provide customised interventions to help people develop new perspectives and increase their understanding of and interaction with each other. The majority of this money goes to the most successful employees.”Our belief is technology can alter this,” Mitchell said. “C-suite managers buy the platform because of two primary motives. They are able to provide their teams and managers’ assistance on a global scale and instantly. The second advantage is that they receive information on how their teams are performing against benchmarks and can identify how to improve their support and retention of your employees.
What is working in Valence’s favour is the overall increase in the amount of money spent on HR technology. Venture capital investment in HR technology and HR services shot to $17.5 billion in 2017. While companies acknowledge difficulties in integrating technology within their existing HR processes However, they also say that the majority anticipates implementing greater use of the technology in the near future.
“We’ve been thrust into an remarkable shift in the way work is done and how organizations view leadership, teams as well as collaboration. “The initial six to nine months after the epidemic was focused on the ability of people to work effectively and achieve their goals; the world is now turning toward helping people be productive and to be productive, and the demand for Valencia has risen rapidly,” Mitchell added. “[C]ompanies utilise Valence to help hundreds of thousands of employees and managers collaborate better as a team… as they recognise that collaboration and teamwork are essential for the engagement of employees and their performance.”