ion is a B2B SaaS enterprise education technology platform for developing inclusive leaders, remotely.
Meet ion Learning
Why is your company the best option to solve the problem you're solving?
ion is the only all-in-one platform with a proven learning framework for companies to scale and activate the cognitive diversity of their workforce. We all know that people learn best with others. Like having a study group in school, but at work you might call it a pod, circle, huddle, cohort, peer-learning, mastermind, or any other name that comes to mind describing small group learning. The challenge here for companies is that to launch a blended learning course that incorporates small group learning requires they use survey tools, excel, and email to organize and launch the small groups. This is an administrative burden and there has been no way to track the success and impact of the discussions until now.
ion is an enterprise peer-learning platform that develops leaders people want to follow with fast-growing clients such as Ancestry.com, Regeneron, and Walmart. ion removes the barriers for companies to scale learning that promotes human connection and is a better fit in this hybrid world of work.
What nuggets of info make you interesting? Why do people care about what you're doing?
In 2020, we completed a landmark research study with Golden Gate University which measured the impact of ion’s platform and framework within a global biotech company. Within 6 months, we were able to reduce turnover intention by 38%! That can translate to 100’s of thousands or millions of dollars to companies. In addition, we saw over 95% completion rates, participants reported that they learned 63% more information due to small group learning structure, and trust in their company increased by over 9%. It usually takes at least 12 months to see a 5% increase in these numbers and we able to produce almost double the result in half the time. People care about what we are doing because we are actually solving problems that enterprises have struggled to do like how to facilitate learning and teamwork at the same time. We are also making an impact on the learner because they are expanding their peer-network, benefitting from diverse perspectives, and being held accountable to complete the material. This develops lasting behavior change and ignites innovation.
What else do you want us to know?
The biggest obstacle that prohibits companies from making progress with diversity and inclusion initiatives is that humans don’t trust people who are different. It is the hallmark of our survival as a species, but it gets in the way of inclusion. Because of the ion methodology and platform, for the first-time companies can help facilitate critical conversations at scale among diverse peers within a psychologically safe environment. It is here that peers can feel safe to share their story, learn and fail, provide feedback, and hold themselves accountable to the change they seek in themselves and others. If we can get people who are different to override their biases and build trust, we have the building blocks for true inclusion to develop and for us to thrive in the future of work.
BEHIND THE COMPANY
CEO/Founder: Shavon Lindley
What is your company's secret sauce?
ion’s secret sauce is our science-backed framework for learning that is a combination of our diversity-focused algorithm that ensures exposure to different points of view, social learning in small groups to build trust, practice inclusion, and hold each other accountable to complete courses and bite-sized premium micro-learning content that is spaced out and repeated over time so learners stay engaged and can learn in their flow of work.
What inspired you to start/run this company?
I started this company because I struggled to get to the top in the male-dominated financial services industry. After 150 executive interviews on my ESPN Radio show program, I discovered that diverse leaders shared 6 leadership skills. That inspired my TEDx Talk, Forbes Column, and the inspiration to create our first peer-learning based digital course. Next, Walmart loved our program so much that they asked if we could scale it throughout the organization. After an exhaustive and unsuccessful search for a platform that didn’t use bias in its algorithm and could deliver results, my co-founder and I decided to build ion.
What's the best entrepreneurial advice you've received?
Some of the best advice we got was when we were competing for Startup of the Year in the finals at SXSW. Guy Kawasaki told us to test everything manually. Once you figure out what works and what clients love, then you start automating your platform and processes. This advice has kept us running lean and knowing exactly what clients need and want.
What's the worst entrepreneurial advice you've received?
The worst advice we got was from a prior attorney who told us that the name of our fundraising rounds didn’t matter. It does matter…a lot. Labeling your round (i.e. pre-seed, seed, bridge, Series A, etc) accurately sends a signal to investors of the stage of your company. If you say you are raising a Series A round yet have not achieved series A milestones you look like you don't know what you are doing.