Electives, the education and engagement platform for employees, today announced the closing of a $2.25 million seed round led by Boston Seed Capital and Accomplice. Additional investors include Bertelsmann Media and Jerod Mayo, former pro-football player and current coach in New England.
Electives curates and matches a unique faculty of instructors for employer partners based on shared data. Teachers available on the platform include former FBI agents, top business school professors, Broadway performers, improv comedians, professional athletes, and more. The class topics range from Manager Training, Implicit Bias, Leadership Development, Storytelling, Gender Identity, and Cultural History.
“Today’s employees place a high value on workplace learning culture, and we built Electives to help companies provide Learning & Development programs that engage, motivate, and inspire real progress,” said Jason Lavender, CEO and co-founder of Electives.
Krikor Dzeronian, the company’s CTO and co-founder, added: “After college, we quickly recognized that the electives we’d taken were oftentimes our most influential learning experiences – moreso than some that were required for our majors. With Electives, we’re bringing those same valuable and varied experiences to workforces everywhere.”
Electives launched in 2020 to answer corporations’ rapidly increasing need for innovative learning, diversity & inclusion, and development programs. Demand for such programs has only accelerated in 2021, driven by the global rise in remote work.
“On one hand, companies are doing everything they can to compete for talent. On the other hand, employees are consistently seeking more professional development and diversity and inclusion opportunities,” said Peter Blacklow, Managing Director at Boston Seed Capital. “Electives solves both sides of the equation for employers and for employees.”
The COVID-driven transformation of workplace structures has given rise to an Education and HR technology boom. Electives has been tapped by more than 60 employers to help attract and retain remote and hybrid workforces.
“Learning & development isn’t only about skill set improvement; it is also about how you embed learning into your culture,” said Adrienne Barnard, Senior Vice President of Mainstay, an Electives customer. “L&D has been broken for a long time; we tried the blanket approach with content libraries and for the most part, it doesn’t work. Working with Electives has given me the abilities to curate content, meet employees where they are in terms of their development journey, and foster a culture of learning.”
“Throughout my career, the most important lessons I’ve learned have come from listening to amazing people in unexpected places. I learned about productivity and time management on football fields. I learned about grit and mental toughness in the hallways of healthcare organizations. Leaders and mentors can come from anywhere,” said Mayo. “That’s why I invested in Electives. They’re offering the kind of instruction that organizations need, but would not be able to find on their own. Electives programs are making workforces stronger, more empathetic, and are helping build diversity and understanding. I’m excited to be involved and delighted to watch them grow.”
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