Today, I’m excited to announce our $4.7M seed round led by Katelin Holloway and Alexis Ohanian at Seven Seven Six, reported exclusively in Fortune. Rei and I are thrilled to support even more individuals and companies with coaching and community. It’s definitely been a journey getting here, and I want to take a moment to reflect on the past several months.
My Own Grand Council
“You made the right choice of industry and company. You've fully achieved your ikigai, the intersection of what you love, what you're good at, what the world needs.”
One of my fellow Grand Council members said this to me during our closing session, where we shared our challenges and appreciations for one another. It was one of the best compliments I’d ever received — I felt so seen and acknowledged for the work I cared so deeply about.
(That same member also assigned everyone a character from Naruto, showcasing how well we had all bonded and gotten to know each other.)
Six months before, I had entered my Grand Council with what felt like the weight of the world on my shoulders. We all went around and shared a pressing challenge we were facing, along with a descriptive metaphor.
“I felt like Sisyphus carrying a boulder up a hill.”
The crushing pressure of having to figure out so many things at once: closing sales with limited resources, running a successful fundraise in a difficult market, and growing a new human in my body while taking care of a two-year-old and all of their feelings. It all felt like too much.
Over the next several months of Grand Council sessions, the boulder started feeling lighter and lighter. I could come into these sessions and let out a deep breath. I gained valuable perspectives and was able to look at the hard decisions ahead of me with a renewed sense of awareness and clarity. I could break the boulder into smaller pieces and move them one at a time. These were my people and they helped me take action; they helped me develop more self-trust; and they ultimately helped me feel less alone on my journey as a founder.
Another member noticed my “aha” moments and remarked on how cool it was to witness my own product help me. Before that, I had only experienced our product as the founder and as a coach. Now as a customer, I can genuinely say the journey has had a profound impact on me, allowing me to be my best self for my team. This in turn has allowed my team to better support our coaches, our customers, and everyone we interact with day-to-day.
Each member of our team also has their own Grand Council to help them navigate their personal work and life challenges. You can imagine the compounding impact that’s had on our culture, our leadership skills, and the common language we use. It’s also helped us gain real empathy for the member experience.
Transforming Organizations from The Inside Out
Before our last pre-seed round, we were focused on changing individuals’ lives. Now, we’re changing organizations from the inside out. What that looks like is similar to my own member journey.
A customer has an impactful experience with The Grand because:
- they’ve been able to focus on their own self-discovery and development through coaching and consistent reflection, and
- they have a group of confidantes supporting them along the way.
By prioritizing themselves, they’re able to be a better employee and a better teammate. As more employees come to The Grand, the entire organization also becomes stronger. At the end of the day, organizations are a collection of people. If each person can make genuine human connections and feel like their work matters and is aligned with their superpowers, then the organization will thrive.
Our Collective Future
We started The Grand with one vision: to make the world a less lonely place. We believe discovering your best self is a lifelong journey that no one should walk alone.
Over the last several years, we’ve all unfortunately experienced a collective trauma and a deep sense of disruption in our lives. We’ve felt profound loneliness and lack of direction, in ways we haven’t ever felt before. The US Surgeon General even declared loneliness an epidemic. Now, with the rise of artificial intelligence and remote work, coupled with generational shifts in attitude, it’s more important than ever to have purpose, genuine human connection, and real support in both work and life. We’re here to help you and your teams navigate your toughest challenges with the support of an experienced executive coach, an intimate group of peers, and a global community of kind and ambitious people.
We’re excited for this new round of funding to help us grow our impact in tech and media and support new communities — from sports teams to healthcare workers, education leaders to working moms, and more. We believe everyone deserves coaching and we see a big opportunity to serve the groups who haven’t traditionally had access. For example, through our partnership with Angel City Football Club, we’re coaching players to reflect on their identity and values to understand who they are beyond the sport. We’re powering the NBA Player Development’s Business Mentorship Program with leadership coaching through a similar lens. We’re also investing in our beautiful digital platform and knowledge base so you can continue to develop outside of your live coaching sessions.
I can’t wait to see what the world looks like when we’re all our brightest and boldest selves — where we’ve all achieved our ikigai and we’re exactly who we’re meant to be. ✨