How this platform helps coach startup employees to become better leaders and managers

PeakPerformer is an online coaching startup that connects leadership coaches to those seeking guidance on enhancing their leadership or management skills.
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Aishwarya Goel's entrepreneurial journey started when she was studying engineering at Amity University. She started a venture that sold edible gold, but after experiencing a very fast track career in a couple of high growth startups, she realised that she also needed managerial and leadership guidance.

This led Aishwarya to start PeakPerformer, a digital coaching and learning platform startup focused on leadership and management development.

Aishwarya’s entrepreneurial journey

When Aishwarya’s venture of selling edible gold got acquired, the lessons made her decide to work in a startup environment.

“The kind of business I was running was traditional with no tech play and was not scalable. I knew how to take it from zero to one but not from one to ten,” she tells YourStory.

This led her to join fintech startup Trupay as its first employee and later, worked for PhonePe where she was tasked to build a completely new category of business. Her time at PhonePe was a steep learning curve where she realised her shortcomings, especially when dealing with people.

“I struggled to deal with the right behavioural capabilities and was not very aware of how to manage a team. It was a personal struggle,” she admits.

It was during this time that one of her seniors recommended that she attend a leadership coaching course, which changed a lot of things for Aishwarya.

This led her to start PeakPerformer as she understood that young companies worked in a high-growth startup environment but struggled with various leadership and management challenges. She wanted to create a tech platform where such guidance was readily available.

After Aishwarya quit PhonePe in 2019, she spent close to ten months studying the landscape of leadership and management, as well as interacted with numerous business leaders.

In 2020, she, along with Gaurav Jhunjhnuwala and Nilesh Agarwal, founded Bengaluru-based PeakPerformer.

How does it work

Aishwarya says, “Peakperformer is a new-age coaching platform and offers a behavioural transformation product.”

The startup begins by interacting with the top leadership of any company or startup to understand its vision, goals, and aspirations.

“We need to understand what are the behavioural challenges that these startups foresee,” says Aishwarya.

This is done on a remote 1:1 basis. PeakPerformer onboarded a unicorn gaming startup that brought around 17 executives at the vice president level to be part of their programme.

“We have a process called readiness of the learners where it is an orientation call to make them understand what would be their blind spots and also their perceived strengths or weaknesses,” says Aishwarya.

Post this, PeakPerformer uses demographic and psychographic data to connect these individuals to leadership coaches. The startup has around 150 coaches on its platform from within the country and outside.

“The platform uses all the data to suggest the right coach. It is very important to have a connection as well as chemistry with the coach who can really challenge the individual,” says Aishwarya.

Besides the dedicated one-to-one coaching session every month, Peak Performer also provides content in the form of bite-sized learning modules, micro-tasks, on its platform. There is also the feature of a real-time chat with a behavioural psychologist who can provide inputs for any kind of urgent requirements.

The team at Peakperformer

The startup also collects feedback on the progress made and provides it to the companies to make this entire exercise measurable.

“We believe coaching has to be outcome-driven and it is their responsibility of setting the goals,” says Aishwarya, adding, “Coaching also has an element of therapy.”

She says all the coaches on their platform are credentialled and have 10 years of experience and must have put in 300 hours into it.

Catering to customers

Though Peakperformer was founded at the start of the pandemic, Aishwarya says the response from the market has been encouraging with many companies approaching them. “There is a huge surge in goal completion,” she says.

Today, the startup generates around 70 percent of its business from new-age companies or startups, with the rest coming in from large enterprises. PeakPerformer is generating close to $300,000 in ARR with around 20 clients under its belt and growing.

“New-age business is all about the people. Right now, we are catering to this high demand,” says Aishwarya.

The co-founder says all kinds of managers, especially those working at the mid-management level, approach the platform to get coached.

Since the launch of their operations, the startup has observed certain common themes, which, Aishwarya says, falls under three buckets. Firstly, many startups are keen to groom managers from within the company but their exposure is limited. Secondly, those who join the startup from outside, especially at the mid-management level, struggle with this culture, and lastly, the founders themselves are hiring at a very rapid pace.

While these programmes on Peakperformer are not time-bound, it all depends on the progress made by the individuals. It works on a SaaS subscription model where the companies can buy seats.

USP

Aishwarya says the startup’s USP include the portfolio of quality coaches, having a digital platform, and making progress measurable.

“What we are trying to do is to make the unorganised market into an organised one. Our product has democratised learning on management and leadership,” she says.

PeakPerformer raised an undisclosed round of seed funding from global venture capital firm Antler India in July this year. As part of its future plans, the startup will be launching an app to increase the time spent on its content, increase the number of coaches, and lastly, create a strong space for its growth initiatives.


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Edited by Kanishk Singh