© Onesome

Onesome: Digital Coaching Without a Coach

The need for personal development, often in the form of coaching, is constantly growing. But high costs and other obstacles mean that it’s predominantly the top levels of management that benefit from it. The startup Onesome wants to change that. We asked the founders our Seven Questions.

Munich Startup: Who are you and what does Onesome do? Please introduce yourselves!

Onesome: We, Anouk, Swantje and Nadine, founded our company a year ago with the aim of democratizing coaching in order to give more people access to personal development. What has emerged is Onesome, a digital coach for personal development that works without human support, which makes it more affordable and accessible at all times.

The three of us bring together various competencies. Anouk Harde (29) unites psychological and technical knowledge and has a degree in human-computer interaction. Nadine Priessnitz (29) is our startup expert and also has expertise in innovation management and strategic consulting in the field of HR. And as the CEO of connect&develop, a consulting firm specializing in coaching and executive search, Swantje Benussi (56) brings along her key background in personal development and coaching.

Because our founding team comes from two different generations, we’re often asked how we met. Nadine and Anouk have been friends since the 5th grade and Swantje has known Anouk for her whole life. We were all facing our own challenges in daily life: As a coach, Swantje was always limited in terms of time, but wanted to help more people than she was able to. Anouk’s goal was to have greater leverage in coaching and give people access to a long-term change management coach. And Nadine had taken her own route for finding a coach for self-discovery and orientation and realized she wasn’t the only one. It was through Anouk that Swantje and Nadine met and the decision was made to develop their own product for digital coaching. That was how Onesome was born.

Onesome wants to make coaching more accessible

Munich Startup: What problem does your startup solve?

Onesome: In times of extreme change – with transformation, new work or the new (working) conditions caused by Covid just as examples – the need for personal development, often in the form of coaching, is constantly growing. It’s obvious why: Targeted personal development enhances our orientation, motivation and satisfaction as human beings and also makes us more resilient and more productive in daily life. But coaching often involves obstacles and immense costs. This is also why companies often only offer personal development coaching to the highest levels of management. There are hardly any offers for the vast majority – despite the fact that many companies would like to invest in their employees.

That is why we are initially offering Onesome to companies, because that is where we see the greatest leverage. Our app is the alternative to conventional coaching – a digital tool that makes the methods, questions and results from coaching technically available. This allows us to meet the needs of many companies, because Onesome is affordable, which makes it possible to take everyone along on the road to the future.

Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!

Onesome: Until now, the market has predominantly had platforms that offer automatic coach matching and the option to book coaches for virtual coaching. But that is still only available at a relatively high cost. Our digital approach makes the process affordable. It’s also more flexible, because with Onesome you don’t have to coordinate dates and times with others. What also differentiates us from other digital products is that it is of the utmost importance to us to offer a user experience that focuses on the user, not the company. Onesome should be fun and in-depth.

“We want to establish a community with Onesome”

And that’s not all: We also want to establish a community with Onesome. Which is why we integrated community sessions into Onesome. In the app, each person can concentrate on themselves in a safe and anonymous space as the first step. As the next step, you meet up virtually with other Onesome users in the company and start to share with each other – your own experience and their experience. By sharing with others, you expand your own knowledge and realize that we’re not all alone with our issues. That enhances how we interact with one another, how we communicate and ultimately the community in the company.

Munich Startup: What have been your three biggest challenges so far?

Onesome: In a startup, lots of different things come up that there aren’t any experts or employees for. Keeping track of it all, responding and not losing sight of the ultimate goal was a major challenge in the beginning and still leads to ongoing personal growth. As first-time entrepreneurs, we always looked for external guidance on different subjects such as product development, sales and marketing – and still do. At the same time, we also need to be able to make decisions quickly and have faith in our own expertise. After all, we’re the experts for our product, our market, our business and our vision. This awareness has grown stronger with each new day that we work on Onesome.

“We communicate as equals”

Another challenge is that the mindset of the people we work with is important to us. We would like for the people who work with us – employees, partners and investors – to have similar values to our own. It’s not a matter of always having the same opinion. That would be boring and not useful for our business. We communicate as equals, regardless of how old or young or how experienced or unexperienced someone is. But if something isn’t right, that’s when you have to actively draw the line and communicate openly. That is always a big step and is not always easy for us.

To following up on that: Open communication with each other, in our team, is obviously also important, because that leads to trust. But that also means giving each other honest feedback when something bothers us. And it’s best to do so right in the middle of the situation. That isn’t always easy, but the result is that we really trust each other. We know when the other person doesn’t say anything, then everything is okay. And if they do say something, then they do so based on strong affection.

Companies are just the beginning

Munich Startup: Where would you like to be in one year, and where in five years?

Onesome: We are convinced that the need for coaching will continue to grow. Because the world is changing and people are increasingly uncertain. Moreover, it’s of growing importance to many of us to see meaning in what we do and to feel like we’re making a contribution. Self-awareness is the key. And an increasing number of people need high-quality coaching along the way. The coaches that do exist could never provide that for everyone and hardly anyone could pay for it.

That’s why we want to continue to expand Onesome’s content in the years ahead so we can help as many people as possible with their issues. Onesome is already available to companies, but there will also be Onesome for individual users who are interested in personal development and being effective. We also want to help people who don’t have any access to coaching and offer Onesome to the long-term unemployed, students, school children and other members of society.

Munich Startup: What do you think about Munich as a startup location?

Onesome: We really appreciate being in Munich as a place to live and work. We’re all networked very well here, which is also an important success factor. On top of that, more and more exciting startups and formats are emerging that give you new ideas and lead to interesting communication. Even though we got started in 2019, startup life really only began for us during the first lockdown. That’s why we haven’t had the chance to really get to know the startup scene here in Munich yet. What we would like would be even more support for startups. While a lot is advertised by the State of Bavaria, actually getting the support still isn’t that easy.

Munich Startup: Isar River or English Garden?

Onesome: This made us laugh a lot. Anouk said she prefers the Isar because it’s right around the corner for her. And at the same time, we’ve also discovered the English Garden, because an evening dip into the Eisbach as a team is lots of fun and let’s us forget about Asana tasks for just a moment.

Maximilian Feigl

Maximilian Feigl berichtet seit 2020 über das Münchner Startup Ökosystem. Dabei haben es dem studierten Politikwissenschaftler vor allem Deeptech-Themen angetan.

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