With a background in talent development, Harry Novic understands the power of coaching in unleashing potential. Combined with his work as part of the International Coaching Federation’s ‘AI Coaching Standards Work Group’ and his own experience in product development, he has created Rocky.ai. The service will give ambitious young professionals a coach in their pocket, offering interactive coaching, recommendations and tracking through a chatbot interface to help them develop a growth mindset.
Rocky.ai has just received a £300,000 pre-seed investment from Jenson Funding Partners, whose CIO Jeffrey Faustin commented, “we’re always looking for scalable problem-solving solutions and what Harry has developed with Rocky.ai represents that. Whether you’re in your twenties or your forties, Rocky is designed to support the user.”
We asked Harry some questions about how he got started, the inspiration behind Rocky, and how the funding will help it develop.
What was your professional background before founding Rocky Robots?
My career started with developing IOT devices and embedding web communication into automation and robotic devices. To push my career further, I did an executive MBA at the Henley Business School, and this is where my real passion for personal development emerged.
I shifted my role into a business development and leadership position and worked 10 years in Asia for a German corporation. One of my major goals was to develop future sales managers and leaders. I discovered the need for regular mentorship and coaching for those talents, but also the lack of resources and people to support them on a daily basis.
When products such as Alexa and Siri emerged, I realised the potential to combine the advantages of these technologies with coaching to create a personal digital coach.
What is Rocky.ai Robots? Who will use it the most?
Our product, Rocky.ai, is designed for anyone who would like to prepare for an upcoming career, start a new business, or who are on their way towards evolving in their role as leaders.
The coaching programs covered by Rocky work for company managers, entrepreneurs, freelancers, or even artists. Essentially, it works for everyone who needs to work on the right things and understand their personal big picture while staying motivated and engaging other people positively.
It’s especially useful for young professionals who work in smaller or newer teams, or starting their own business, where personal development can be hard to manage.
Why did you decide to launch a digital coaching business?
Coaching is one of the most effective methods for adult education. Coaching is the method of making people think, discover themselves, and figure out what the right solution might be in their highly individual and personal context.
In most cases, people already have the right tools, but they often miss the regular practice to bring it into everyday life. With Rocky, we have designed a solution that provides this personal development practice in daily bite-sized packages. That’s why we call Rocky: ‘the sparring partner for self-improvement’.
As Rocky is available every day, the solution has an advantage over classical human coaches, who can only be reached once in a while. We also designed ‘Rocky for Coaches’ that delivers a hybrid model with human coaches who want to scale their 1-on-1 coaching as well.
What was the process of £300,000 pre-seed round from Jenson Funding Partners and other investors?
We got in touch with Jenson Funding Partners during our early start-up phase, which was when we were designing the first prototypes of Rocky.ai, and developing a relationship over the following years.
By showing how our company and our products evolved, Jenson Funding Partners understood our solutions and business model, helping us convince their investment committee.
What are your plans for the investment and Rocky.ai?
First, we’ll be expanding our team, then marketing to a wider audience and developing our solutions and premium coaching programs and content, as well as building new partnerships.
Our mission is to become the leading AI coaching solution for individuals and for businesses worldwide.
What are the trends shaping the future of online coaching?
The market for online coaching marketplaces is strong and growing fast. But most current platforms are based on connecting coaches with clients or managing online 1-to-1 coaching or training. This makes coaching expensive and exclusive.
AI coaching is still new to the market and allows coaching to be available at scale, bringing it to the main-stream audience. Self-coaching with AI will emerge as an entry point into coaching and as a routine for many professionals. AI coaching will not replace coaches, but instead extend the coaching market drastically.
I am very excited to contribute to the future of AI coaching and the benefits it will create to our societies.