Fuel50 Raises $14 Million to Bolster Employee Engagement and Retention

Fuel50, a software startup developing a cloud-hosted career experience and talent mobility platform, today announced that it has raised $14 million in a series B funding round led by PeakSpan Capital, bringing its total raised to nearly $20 million. In a press release, CEO Anne Fulton said the fresh capital will be used to support customer acquisition efforts and drive “significant additions” to the Laguna Niguel, California-based company’s technology stack.

Fuel50’s solution was codeveloped by Fulton and cofounder Jo Mills in 2013, and it taps AI to deliver career path transparency to workers and talent forecasting to management. To this end, its algorithms match people with internal opportunities while surfacing gaps in an individual’s general knowledge, and its web portals gamify skills acquisition and professional development to bolster retention.After logging into Fuel50’s eponymous suite for the first time, employees complete up to four interactive exercises that help identify things like career values, talents, fit, and agility. The exercises can be customized to align with corporate framework, philosophy, and projects without impeding FuelPath’s machine learning algorithms, which adapt in the background to surface open roles based on competencies, work style, interests, qualifications, and more.

Folks who’ve completed Fuel50’s quizzes can request, receive, and provide peer-to-peer feedback on skills and talents, or identify and access mentors within departments or across entire organizations. They’re able to add themselves as mentors and use a bespoke dashboard to coach and support mentees (who Fuel50’s matchmaking engine autonomously suggests), and they’re able to adjust their profile’s visibility based on their current status.

Fuel50’s software also features a career development component — FuelGig — that enables leaders to extend workers opportunities to expand their skillsets through stretch assignments. They can create, manage, and organize assignments from a unified view, and post or promote them at their leisure. Employees can search for assignments and filter by location, business area, talents, or keywords, or apply to be considered for them by submitting a questionnaire that’s received and reviewed by gig owners.

Fuel50’s analytics tools enable employees to add actions, create action plans, and generate reports on their achievements, and its software allows coaches and managers to view stats and metrics (as well as risk factors) across teams or individual profiles. Moreover, it lets those coaches and managers add potential candidates to a succession pipeline for later reference and quickly evaluate them against roles in a division (or several divisions), or add and manage objectives for direct reports.

Fuel50 competes with a number of well-funded startups in an employee retention and engagement market anticipated to be worth $346 million by 2025, according to Zion Market Research. 15Five raised $30.7 million earlier this month for its solution, which revolves around weekly employee evaluations, and Peakon in March nabbed $35 million for a software-as-a-service platform that helps businesses engage with employees through ongoing surveys. Dynamic Signal is another formidable rival — it raised $36.5 million from Microsoft Ventures last year for a toolset that helps companies communicate messages to their workers.

But Fuel50 has punched above its weight class pretty successfully to date. It counts T-Mobile, Transcom, Texas Health, Indeed, Spark NZ, Mastercard, LoyaltyOne, Ingersoll Rand, Gap, eBay, Dexcom, Bank of Queensland, and the United Nations among its customers, and it claims clients see average engagement uplifts of between 3% and 30%.

“In a world that’s rabidly competitive for great talent, leading enterprises understand and appreciate that there are deep and untapped veins of gold within their own ranks,” said PeakSpan Capital’s Phil Dur. “Fuel50 is at the vanguard of a huge opportunity to reframe the talent experience. We think career pathing and talent development will become table stakes for leading business in any vertical, and we’re privileged to partner with the team that pioneered this category.”

In addition to its Laguna Niguel headquarters, Fuel50 has offices in New Zealand, Australia, and the U.K.