Cultivate was initially founded through Samsung NEXT’s ‘Entrepreneur in Residence’ accelerator program. In 2019, SAP’s early-stage venture arm, SAP.iO, participated in the AI company’s Series A funding where it raised $8 million to grow its go-to-market team and product offerings. Since then, Cultivate has accumulated a total of $10 million in venture capital and partnered with multiple leading academic institutions to further its mission of a digital leadership platform.

Leveraging AI for Leaders and the New Digital Workforce

Cultivate was founded with the vision of empowering next-generation leaders through an AI-based leadership development platform that supports them in improving their teams’ employee experience. The platform uses the latest techniques in Machine Learning (ML) and Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) to derive social insights from digital channels to help leaders realise their full potential.

According to Joe Freed, co-founder and CEO of Cultivate, the company aims to address a leadership development gap to help managers self-evaluate their digital communications with insights on their own behaviours. He comments:

“Managers are overloaded with email and chat, but they still have to be managers of people. When it comes to things like well-being, burnout, inclusion, and engagement, a lot of how you can influence your team can be through digital communication. But we don’t have a lot of tools to help us with this.”

Enterprise leaders who opt-in to the AI coaching platform get access to a digital coach that scans and analyses the words and the metadata collected from various digital communication channels such as Office 365Google SuiteTeams and Slack. The Cultivate AI for leaders then delivers personalised, continuous and easy-to-execute actionable leadership insights to managers themselves, helping them strengthen their workplace relationships and ultimately improve the employee experience.

According to Cultivate, a manager using the digital leadership coaching platform can also give feedback to the Cultivate AI to adjust the feedbacks being generated based on the context of their relationships with their team members.

Companies using the Cultivate AI for leaders include:

  • SAP
  • Qualtrics, an SAP-owned company and leader in XM technology
  • McKesson Corporation, a global leader in pharmaceuticals and health information technology
  • BASF, the largest chemical producer in the world
  • PwC, considered one of the Big Four accounting firms
  • SamsungNEXT, a ventures and innovation group within Samsung

At SAP, the Cultivate platform was deployed at an initial small pilot. After confirming that the AI’s feedbacks were highly beneficial, the SAP team did a larger roll-out to approximately 250 sales managers, where 79% of those eligible to participate chose to do so.

Today, SAP has deployed Cultivate to over 500 managers. The German multinational company reports that 96% of managers have remained engaged with Cultivate since the initial roll-out.

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