L&D is a big market. It’s a space that includes most of the largest consulting firms, learning content providers, and assessment providers. That might sound like a case for its disruption, but it’s more of a statement about the market’s complexity. Will disruption in L&D be led by apps focused on specialization in a single area, or by providing more breadth across the L&D landscape?
Torch is the latest in a steady trickle of apps that leverages data to provide coaching and/or coaches that help in development of staff/leaders. In this case, focused on helping leaders be more empathetic. It appears to be a traditional approach to assessment/learning/measurement that has been automated with a more modern interface. More of an incremental improvement, than let’s say the apps we’re starting to see that are looking at the communication (written/SMS/feedback) and providing leaders real-time feedback on how that communication is perceived.
His app wants to make executive coaching (a polite word for therapy) part of even the busiest executive’s schedule. Torch conducts a 360 interview with a client and their employees to assess weaknesses, lays out improvement goals, and provides one-on-one video chat sessions with trained counselors.“Essentially we’re trying to help that person develop the capacity to be a more loving human being in the workplace” Yarbrough explains. That’s crucial in the age of ‘hustle porn’ where everyone tries to pretend they’re working all the time and constantly ‘crushing it’. That can leave leaders facing challenges feeling alone and unworthy. Torch wants to provide a private place to reach out for a helping hand or shoulder to cry on.Now Torch is ready to lead the way to better management for more companies, as it’s just raised $10 million Series A round led by Norwest Ventures along with Initialized Capital, Y Combinator, and West Ventures. It already has 100 clients including Reddit and Atrium, but the new cash will fuel its go-to market strategy. Rather than trying to democratize access to coaching, Torch is doubling-down on teaching founders, C-suites, and other senior executives how to care…or not care too much.