Techstars ATL: Meet Talented
How many times have you read a great book or attended a useful training seminar only to forget what you learned?
That’s because the way we learn as adults — taking in information passively like “edu-tainment” — doesn’t work. But where many people see a problem, Danvers Fleury sees an opportunity to reshape learning. His new mobile-first web platform, Talented, takes traditional job training programs and turns them into interactive digital learning experiences that can translate into real-world career advancement opportunities.
The “micro-courses” within Talented allow you to walk through virtual scenarios and complete real-world tasks for a few minutes a day. Research shows that incorporating new concepts into daily life helps people internalize the learning so it truly sticks, said Danvers.
“Everybody learns by doing. That’s the best way,” said Danvers. “So we have a different philosophy — don’t just consume it, live it. That’s why our platform exists.”
But Talented takes learning to a new level with another aspect of the program. It lets HR professionals keep tabs on the courses that employees are taking and use that information to help evaluate which employees are demonstrating untapped potential. This data can help busy managers and HR professionals make informed decisions about who to promote or offer more incentives to based on the employee’s demonstrated efforts of self-improvement, helping to weed out favoritism and bias that can skew the employee evaluation process.
Employees can even unlock rewards — think gaining access to senior company leaders or receiving additional training opportunities — by successfully completing certain activities.
Bringing Talent to Atlanta
Talented is one of 10 startups selected for this year’s Techstars Atlanta 13-week accelerator. As the founding sponsor of Techstars Atlanta, Cox provides financial support and mentors to help grow the companies and enhance Atlanta’s reputation as a center for technological innovation.
Talented, based in Durham, N.C., has been a labor of love for about three years. Danvers co-founded it with Chief Technology Officer Kurt Grandis. An early investment from the Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke University helped the founders gain access to cutting-edge behavioral research and hone their learn-by-doing approach.
The target customer for Talented is small to mid-sized companies of roughly 50 to 5,000 employees who are currently seeing little return on investment for their workforce development programs. Companies pay a monthly subscription fee or a fixed annual fee to give their employees access to Talented.
Connecting Through Learning
Danvers is passionate about education because he struggles with a learning disability. You’d never know it from looking at his impressive academic credentials — an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a bachelor's degree from Boston College — but Danvers has the visual comprehension and reasoning capability of a four-year-old. He struggles to read his own handwriting.
Yet with help, he succeeded in school. And he wants that success for everyone.
“We are built on this principle that everybody deserves the opportunity to discover what they love and are great at,” said Danvers.
Danvers and other Techstars founders will share their innovative business ideas with Cox employees on Oct. 8 at the Techstars@Cox event on the Cox Atlanta campus. They will also present their pitch to hundreds of investors and community supporters at Demo Day on Oct. 15 at The Tabernacle in Atlanta.
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