Ever wondered the best way to get a leg-up in your profession with zero connections in your field?
That’s the issue Ten Thousand Coffees (10KC), a Canadian-founded networking company, wants to unravel. And the corporate has just received a significant boost of $75 million from U.S. private equity firm, Five Elms Capital — the primary institutional investment for the reason that company’s formation in 2014 — to expand its operations and reach.
“It is a critical move to expand our business and make sure the democratization process relating to latest hires and promotions,” said Dave Wilkin, CEO and co-founder of 10KC.
The way in which 10KC works is straightforward. Firms use their program to match employees throughout the same company to construct mentorship relationships. For instance, certainly one of 10KC’s clients, Nike, has employees answer a questionnaire which then helps pair employees with senior leaders to work on profession goals. The aim, says Wilkin, is to enhance worker retention, provide employees with a powerful network, and ensure diversity, equity and inclusion targets are being met.
Greater than 200 corporations, including Nike and the Royal Bank of Canada, now work with 10KC.
Wilkin says the business idea was born while growing up within the small Ontario town of Energetic where he had limited opportunity for profession growth. To get his foot in any door, Wilkin did it himself, he said, earning scholarships to attend the University of Waterloo’s business program and meeting with CEOs and industry leaders to debate 10KC’s business idea while studying.
“So many industry leaders told me the perfect learning on the job happens by grabbing coffee together with your boss and colleague,” Wilkin said. “But who gets those opportunities? What’s the perfect strategy to make the method fair and equitable?”
While corporations were on board with 10KC’s mission, it “really took off” throughout the pandemic, said Wilkin, when working from home became the norm and the office was not the epicentre of workplace life. “All of the sudden we were on this decentralized way forward for work setting with no geographic barriers — we only had tech to attach us.”
Elliott Garcea, 10KC co-founder and chief technology officer, agreed the pandemic tapped into the corporate’s potential to make sure employees are in a position to construct on relationships and opportunities inside their very own company remotely.
Each founders say the funding comes at a critical time as employees struggle to attach in a hybrid work world.
A recent Gallup global workforce survey found that only 21 per cent of employees are engaged at work, leaving many feeling like they don’t find work meaningful and usually are not hopeful about their future.
In 2021, 10CK made greater than 1,000,000 worker matches with a 98 per cent “match quality rating” meaning just about all the matches were the best fit.
The corporate has six different programs corporations can select from, including the mentorship program which pairs early to mid-career employees with higher ups; an onboarding program which pairs latest hires with seasoned employees to assist navigate the onboarding process; and the variety, equity and inclusion program which goals to foster growth opportunities for ladies, Black, Indigenous and LGBTQ+ professionals.
“Hybrid and decentralized work is here to remain and, consequently, employers can’t ignore the dearth of connection employees are feeling,” Stephanie Schneider, partner at Five Elms Capital said in an announcement. The private equity firm specifically invests in software businesses. “Organizations of all sizes need a winning mentoring and worker connection solution to fulfill their engagement, diversity, and retention goals on this latest world of labor.”
Moving forward, Wilkin and Garcea say supporting corporations globally in diversity and inclusion goals are top of mind.
“As an LGBTQ+ entrepreneur who grew up in a small, rural town, I do know firsthand that connections and mentors were critical to opportunities and belonging,” Wilkin said. “We want to assist anyone, irrespective of who they’re, receive the chance and mentorship that oftentimes only a select few get.”