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Launch HN: Together (YC S19) – App to facilitate employee-employee mentoring
78 points by nathan_gold on Aug 9, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 9 comments
We're Matt and Nathan, founders of Together (https://togetherplatform.com). We make an app that manages employee-employee mentoring programs, and that ultimately improves employee career development and company culture.

Matt and I met while we were working at the Boston Consulting Group, an unusual workplace that gets a number of things really right. They rank Top 5 on Glassdoor every year for best places to work. The best thing there is the culture of 'non-evaluative' mentoring. It was common to grab a coffee on a weekly basis with a senior colleague outside your team, talk through what strengths you want to develop, and that conversation would somehow eventually translate into a project together where you worked specifically on those areas. It's the reason why we felt our 'personal growth rate' really took off - someone was always aware of your goals.

That got us thinking about whether the experience could be replicable at other companies too, and that's why we started Together.

We learned that a lot of companies have tried to run mentoring programs but the experience for employees wasn't great. Examples: Someone picked your match for you, and it wasn't a good fit; your match left the company and no one on the HR team even knew; you had a few sessions but had no clue what to talk about / no sense of progress against any goals; as an HR person, you had no visibility into whether the program was working or not

Through Together, any employee can voluntarily sign up to be part of their company's mentoring program. You can sign up to be a mentor, mentee or both - we've even had VPs enjoy the experience as a mentee. Once you fill out your mentoring profile, the magic is in the learning experience that is personalized just for you:

As a mentee, you get a curated list of the top 5 people at your company who signed up and can help you reach your goals. You can be part of one or multiple programs at the same time that focus on different career checkpoints, such as "new manager" or "internship" tracks. With that comes special agendas and content to work through with your mentor/mentee You can track progress to your goals and look back through your personal session history with mentees/mentors - and if things aren't going as planned, an admin might even proactively reach out to you and see if they can tweak who you're working with

Many companies run mentoring programs today, but they largely fall flat. That's why companies like Disney Studios ask us to help them relaunch in a new and more impactful way.

What has been your mentoring experience at work? I'd love to hear about what worked and what didn't! What would you have liked to have? We'd love ideas for how an app like ours could support the mentoring experience for everyone involved. If you’re interested in launching Together at your workplace, [let us know!](https://www.togetherplatform.com/join-list).

I was genuinely interested in this but saw some issues in the pricing. The "starter" is for "up to 100 users" but then the "Organization Wide" plan is for 500 users and over. What happens in the gap between 101 and 499 users? Also, Office 365 integration is only available for companies with over 500 users, which makes it not really useful for me - I want (need) that integration, but would only have about 60 users. So, for those reasons, I had to pass. Everything else looked great, but there is a huge gap in features and pricing for small to mid-sized companies not yet at the 500 mark.

Thanks for your honest feedback, really helpful. We provide the 365 integration for any size of customer, our pricing page just reflects what typical asks are at each size. For example, many large companies want to kick off a quick pilot of 1-200 people before rolling out, and don't want to bother their IT team.

We provide a tiered pricing on usage. If you change your mind, don't hesitate to reach out and we'll sort your plan out.

Sharing this feedback with the team for our site.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding your target customer. Are you only focused on enterprise?

The pricing comes across as something like "forced obsolescence." Forced handicapping? You might not have meant it that way but many of the features in the professional plan are useful for companies of any size. Like Google apps integration is a standard feature. I could see on-prem SSO (I think Oracle does things like this?) but my company deosn't get automatic calendar invites??

In agreement w/ the comment you're replying to, I wouldn't try this because the base features aren't useful enough and the pricing feels very customer-unfriendly.


If good scheduling is necessary for a mentoring program to be successful (I'm guessing it is), then you shouldn't withhold the feature unless you intend to make lower paying customers less successful with the platform.

Thanks - its helpful to understand how this resonated and how it's perceived at different sizes of companies.

Great idea! I've benefited and been a part of things like this at fb, and can vouch for how it can increase empowerment. Rooting for ya'll!

Thanks! What were the best parts of that program at facebook?

Are you doing anything different to https://mentorloop.com/ ?

Great question! Generally, this is a new category of software, and there are really few companies and approaches are different. Some that I could call out: - what workflow integrations are done (we try to be as professional-employee-friendly as possible with Outlook/GSuite integrations) - pricing models - UX design

Maybe a bit more color on the last one - there are tons of things you need to consider when dealing with relationships between professionals. How do you communicate unpairing people carefully? - just one example.

We strive every day to excel at this, and while I can't speak to exactly how other products work, that's what we differentiate on

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