Funding / Investing / Startups

With talent management shifting, Truvelop receives $200K investment from TEDCO to keep growing

The Baltimore startup's app offers companies tools for employee review and performance management. Here's how it added features in the pandemic, and then customers.

Truvelop. (Image via

A $200,000 investment from Maryland’s TEDCO will help Baltimore-based startup Truvelop expand on momentum with its platform for talent evaluation and development.

Led by CEO Lisa First-Willis, who was previously VP of human resources at Baltimore adtech company Millennial Media among other HR roles, Truvelop has a product designed to allow companies to offer a continuous loop of observations and feedback about employees, entering an area of HR that has typically been managed through quarterly or annual reviews. The RealLIST Startups 2020 honoree has a mobile and desktop app that is offered to companies on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. The app uses AI and data science to identify patterns in employee performance and predict outcomes. It can also hone in on strengths and weaknesses that can help with management responses.

In the wake of the pandemic, the company spent part of 2020 strengthening relationships with existing customers. That included getting feedback on how to improve the product. As a result of what they heard, the team added features that allows managers to publicly praise employees on a recognition wall, functions that allow for real-time communication within the app itself and microlearning training sessions.

Many of those companies it works with are essential businesses, while others are working in remote or hybrid situations. A third group remained onsite in industries like construction. Truvelop found that internal talent mobility and talent development have taken center stage in the pandemic. Companies had to do more with less amid an economic downturn, and shifting workplaces meant communication was more important.

Lisa First-Willis.

Lisa First-Willis. (Courtesy photo)

“From the beginning we’ve always set out to help improve that manager and employee relationship, but now more than ever before it’s important for managers to proactively manage their teams and that means recognizing top perform right now, motivating team members who need that extra push or coaching to keep them from falling behind,” First-Willis said. “Our app helps identify who needs help, and then that helps managers focus on the right types of responses to help team members grow, develop or perform better.”

The company didn’t lose any existing clients in 2020, and has been seeing customer growth since the fall. It’s continuing into 2021 with six new companies signed on so far this year. Enter TEDCO, where First-Willis has been a member of the Women’s Executive Leadership Roundtable over the last two years. Now her company is joining the state-backed agency’s portfolio. The investment from TEDCO’s seed fund will help build on the traction as it looks to expand beyond the mid-Atlantic, as well as add team members in sales and customer success.

“We’re perfectly positioned to scale at this point,” First-Willis said. “TEDCO’s investment specifically is critical to supporting our capacity to scale and continuing to develop the Truvelop app.”

Companies: Truvelop / TEDCO

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