Our investment in Mentessa
From left to right – Tina Ruseva and Andrey Andreev, Co-founders of Mentessa.
Written by Valeri Petrov, Roberta Tihomirova, and Nikola Yanev.
Tina Ruseva, the founder and CEO of Mentessa, grew up on a student campus as her parents got her in their first year at university. The multi-cultural environment, being part of a dynamic community, and the experience of this young couple, studying, working, and having fun, while having a baby, were defining for her appreciation of diversity, but also for the way she thinks about work. Today, she still doesn’t understand the boxes people are put in based on how they look, where they come from, or their job titles, putting barriers on who they meet, how they develop, and even how and with whom they collaborate in an organization.
From her experience in over 30 mentoring programs and 100+ communities, Tina learnt that rigid top-down initiatives are not enough to connect people in today’s environment. When it comes to maximizing human potential in the new world of work, we have to rethink mentoring from a program towards an everyday resource of knowledge and collaboration.
This is how the idea was born. Meet Mentessa.
Mentessa is a skill-based platform that brings people together at work
for learning and collaboration, particularly for onboarding new hires, mentoring, or upskilling the workforce. Founded in 2019, the Munich-based company is on a mission to create paths for know-how exchange and collaboration for everyone in the workplace – regardless of fixed structures, job description, or anything else. Taking on Slack as a market leader for decentralized collaboration, the team is committed to creating a new way of people collaboration – inclusive, purpose-driven, and sustainable.
The rapid pace of the digitalization
in almost all industries and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic made remote and hybrid working the new normal – in 2022, 31% of all workers worldwide will be remote (a mix of hybrid and fully remote). According to a recent research by Gartner, the pandemic caused the biggest experiment in the history of work – from a location-centric model of work designed around industrial-era constraints to a human-centric model where digital-era talent will deliver business outcomes.
While the well developed infrastructure (speed of internet, SaaS and cloud based solutions, remote authentication and signage of documents) create very good opportunities for growth of the fully remote and hybrid teams, the challenges with the employee relationship management remain sufficient and still underserved.
Going forward, executives have to rethink work around a human-centric design for the new hybrid environment that ensures performance, innovation, collaboration and equity. According to Gallup, disengagement costs us 350 billion dollars every year. Not to mention the detrimental effect on employee well-being, inclusion, or society – as we are humans and we need to belong.
And while some people adapt to the new environment
relatively quickly and thrive, most employees are struggling and feel disconnected from their companies and colleagues. In addition to that, there is another huge gap in the employee relationship management, which is related to the onboarding of the new hires. Even before the pandemic, this was considered among the most complicated and time-consuming processes but its complexity and importance has risen during the COVID times. Just imagine a college graduate on their first job last year – all alone, working from home, disengaged, and apathetic.
Yes, the tools for information exchange and coordination are well adopted as evidenced by the success of companies like Asana, Zoom, Slack, etc. However, most of them are focused on sharing content and information, not on building professional relationships across the corporate structure. A next step is the creation of the right context for employees to reach out to their various colleagues beyond the boundaries of their formal teams.
In Mentessa employees can connect with each other based on complementary skillsets –
you can think of it as a Tinder for skills. The aim is to build a collaborative community between employees and not to substitute existing communication platforms which are mainly focused on distributing informational content. The end result is greater engagement, increased productivity and less churn within the workforce. Mentessa combines AI and data analytics into a digital platform with the following benefits:
- For employees – it’s a platform for skills matching and decentralised collaboration, that helps new or existing team members to find the right mentor or exchange knowledge with coworkers or peers, based on their particular skill set, beyond functions, gender or bias.
- For businesses – it provides the HR teams with capabilities to manage more efficiently the employee relationships with distributed teams, regardless of fixed structures or job description. It creates an inclusive internal culture of collaboration and engagement.
The founders of Mentessa –
Dr. Radostina Ruseva (co-founder and CEO) and Andrey Andreev (co-founder and CTO), are sharing a business and a family together, bringing around 40 years of combined professional experience in the areas of technology, sales, and entrepreneurship. As immigrants, young parents, and entrepreneurs, they have been part of numerous communities, networks, mentoring programs, and the German start-up ecosystem for 10 years now. As employees of the largest German companies they have experienced it all – lack of diversity, human bias, and insufficient collaboration. This is why they embraced the mission to remove the know-how exchange boundaries for a #FutureOfWork that is both high-tech and high-human.
Sparked your interest? Check out Mentessa’s website and book a demo – https://mentessa.com.