Work-Bench Perspectives: AI for the Next Generation of People Managers


The other day I received an email from a CEO within our Work-Bench community:

“Even though we are still tiny, as we evolve our team and employees begin to grow into management roles for their first time, I’ve started to think a lot about management training. As a first time CEO, this is definitely new territory for me as well.”

This is one of the most common painpoints I hear, across the fastest growing VC-backed enterprise startups we work with and the globally distributed Fortune 1000 corporations in our corporate network: managing people is hard.

And yet there are still surprisingly few technology products that have served this people manager and leadership development training space, estimated to hit $13.8B in 2020 (here), which to date still revolves largely around in-person trainings and workshops.

Given the rise of AI across a range of verticals: financial services, life sciences, healthcare, energy, transportation, heavy industry, agriculture, and materials — we have yet to see AI broadly applied to the people manager training space (though there are some early startups tackling this space, as detailed in my slides above).

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Work-Bench & NEA Present: An Evening with Best-Selling Author Sallie Krawcheck [Video]

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Earlier this March, we partnered with NEA to host a special town hall at Work-Bench with Sallie Krawcheck, author of the best-selling book Own It: The Power of Women at Work. One of the most influential women to have ever worked on Wall Street, Sallie Krawcheck shared an honest view of both her professional and personal experiences in navigating a male-dominated industry, and her best tactics and tips for success.

At Work-Bench, we believe one of the great challenges we still face in enterprise technology is this very real gender gap that persists. And this is why as a venture fund we're passionate about supporting women in enterprise tech – across our women's lunches, speaker series, and recently launched #hackthenetwork mentor program.

The sold-out audience was an incredible and diverse group of women across our NYC enterprise tech community, as well as supportive men, and we're excited for more to come. We’ll be hosting many more town hall series this year here at Work-Bench, as well as our first-ever Women in Enterprise Tech Summit this fall, so sign up here to learn more.

Follow along with the terrific conversation that was trending on Twitter using the hashtag #SallieWB, and watch Sallie's keynote below.

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Welcome to 5 New Mentors: Cassie Lancellotti-Young, J Ram, David Birnbaum, George Brandman, and Kiran Narsu

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Like we've said before, mentors at Work-Bench are part of the heart and soul of everything we do. Given the unique set of procurement, sales, and pricing challenges enterprise startups face, we've seen time and time again how valuable it can be to hear the buyer's perspective or have a voice on the other side of the table, especially when all it takes is one contract to make or break an early stage enterprise startup.

From leading Fortune 1000 executives to enterprise entrepreneurs with hundred million dollar exits, we're lucky to work with such great advisors to our portfolio companies. See the full list of mentors in our Work-Bench network, and join us in welcoming five new mentors to our Work-Bench family: Cassie Lancellotti-Young, J Ram, David Birnbaum, George Brandman, and Kiran Narsu.

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Highlights, Videos, and Presentations from the NYC Enterprise CEO Summit

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With over $2 billion invested in New York-based enterprise startups from local and West Coast VCs to date, it is clear the New York City enterprise ecosystem is thriving.

Lacking, however, has been a forum to bring together these incredible enterprise founders from all stages in New York City to learn from one another and to openly share the mutual challenges they face.

To address this, we recently hosted the first-ever NYC Enterprise CEO Summit here at Work-Bench, with our co-host Battery Ventures.

It was an exceptional enterprise brain trust, with over 60+ New York City-based enterprise technology CEOs from all stages, ranging from early-stage startups to the highest-valued enterprise tech companies in NYC. The quality of conversations, the caliber of leaders, and their experiences were unparalleled. As Jon said, it was "pure enterprise heaven."

From hiring and building culture, to both bottoms up and top down selling, to considering M&A and IPO preparedness, we heard thoughtful discussion, mutual revelations, and candid advice from some of NYC’s top CEOs at companies like MongoDB, Sprinklr, Datadog, and more. See below for a quick overview of each panel, and make sure to watch the videos in their entirety.

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Nextgenterprise - Human-Software Interaction, with Zor Gorelov, CEO of Kasisto

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Nextgenterprise    |    next • gen • ter • prise    |    \ˈnekst-jen-te(r)-ˌprīz\
(1) someone or something at the cutting edge of next generation enterprise technology

Our nextgenterprise series profiles the founders and technologies at the cutting edge of enterprise technology. Today, we’re featuring Zor Gorelov Co-founder and CEO of Kasisto, a provider of AI-driven virtual personal assistants for financial institutions, which enables intelligent conversation capabilities on any device.

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Startup Cultures - An Inside Look at BetterWorks

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For the second installment our Work-Bench "Inside Look" series, we sat down with Sarah Sheikh, Customer Success at BetterWorks. See what gets these Work-Bench startups out of bed in the morning, the technologies they are transforming, and what keeps their teams laughing.

What problem is your company solving?

BetterWorks is an enterprise software platform for easily setting and managing goals. Essentially, we help teams get aligned on top priorities, stay focused on the work that matters, and become more successful – no more digging through outdated spreadsheets or PowerPoint files just to see what everyone's working on. One of our core company values is about getting 1% better every day, and we love that we're helping our customers make improvements every day too.

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Nextgenterprise - The Winning Ingredients with Alex Polvi, CEO of CoreOS

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Nextgenterprise    |    next • gen • ter • prise    |    \ˈnekst-jen-te(r)-ˌprīz\
(1) someone or something at the cutting edge of next generation enterprise technology

Our Nextgenterprise series profiles incredible founders at the cutting edge of enterprise technology. Today we’re featuring Alex Polvi, Co-founder and CEO of CoreOS, an open source operating system for Linux containers and a Y Combinator company backed by Google Ventures, Accel Partners, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

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Welcome to our Summer 2015 Cohort

It’s a pleasure to announce our Summer 2015 Cohort and to welcome the four newest members of our Work-Bench family: ActionIQ, Cockroach Labs, Pepperdata, and TripSavvy. Our new family of enterprise startups have repeat entrepreneurs and founders who hail from companies like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, and Square. Individually, members of these team have worked on game-changing technologies like GIMP, Gmail, Aster Data, and Apache Hbase, and together, these startups are transforming enterprise software, analytics, and infrastructure. Having already raised more than $26 million from top VCs like Sequoia, Benchmark, FirstMark and Wing, we can’t wait to see what they’ll accomplish over the next 12 months at Work-Bench.

Please join me in welcoming our new teams:

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Summer 2015 Applications Are Open

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Apply for Membership at Work-Bench

With over 175 enterprise technology entrepreneurs, innovators, and technologists working in our 32,000 square foot space in Union Square, you won't find a more enterprise-oriented community anywhere on earth. Join our family of 35+ incredible member & alumni startups, who have raised over $385 million from top tier investors such as Accel, Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Sequoia (to name a few), and get access to our workspace, community, and business development program for 12 months in the heart of New York City, a stone's throw away from your corporate customers - without giving up equity.

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Welcome to our First Work-Bench Mentors

It takes a village to raise a startup, and nowhere is this more true than in enterprise software. From navigating procurement to pricing deals, enterprise startups face unique set of challenges on the b2b journey to success. This is why we are building Work-Bench: we believe that an open community of similarly-focused startups is best suited to tackle these challenges by sharing common knowledge, resources and feedback with others who get it.

That is why, today, we're excited to announce the two newest additions to our community at Work-Bench: Oren Michels and Dimitri Sirota. Oren and Dimitri will be joining our community as pioneering mentors to advise and support our startups. Both Oren and Dimitri are expert enterprise entrepreneurs and founders, having built Mashery and Layer 7 from the ground up, which were acquired by Intel for $180 million and CA Technologies for $155 million, respectively.

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