NEW YORK, June 25, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Chief (chief.com), the private network built to drive more women into positions of power and keep them there, today announced the close of a $22 million Series A investment round. The new investment was co-led by General Catalyst and Inspired Capital. Ken Chenault, chairman and a managing director of General Catalyst, and Alexa von Tobel, founder and managing partner of Inspired Capital, will join the board of directors.
Chief is the only organization specifically designed for senior women leaders — rising VP level through CEO — to strengthen their journey into the C-suite, cross-pollinate power across industries and effect change from the top-down. The company, co-founded by Carolyn Childers and Lindsay Kaplan, quickly struck a chord with women in business.
Since its recent launch in January, Chief's membership has grown to more than 700 of the most formidable women executives in New York, representing more than 500 companies. The majority of members are sponsored by their companies to support leadership development, including HBO, Walmart, LVMH, Sotheby's, JetBlue, Mastercard, Johnson & Johnson, IDEO, Hulu, SoulCycle, PepsiCo, Verizon, Omnicom, Chobani, UNICEF, Instagram and Google. Chief also has a growing waitlist of thousands of women from across the country. The new investment will provide Chief with resources to advance its digital platform and pursue rapid geographic expansion to meet consumer demand.
"Challenging the status quo and creating cultures that have the power to transform organizations by embracing diversity and inclusion have been defining objectives of my career," said Chenault. "Chief has made impressive strides to change the fabric of the leadership of today, and I'm excited to support their commitment to accelerating and elevating the trajectories of women's careers. Chief embodies the attributes we value at General Catalyst — a promising mission, an ambitious team, and a loyal, passionate, influential community."
Chief is also the first lead investment for Inspired Capital, co-founded by von Tobel and Penny Pritzker, the former U.S. Secretary of Commerce and serial entrepreneur who serves on the board of Microsoft and the Harvard Corporation.
"Chief is helping to shape the future of work by rewriting what it means to be a woman in the C-suite," said von Tobel. "By building community through a high-caliber network and offering tailored resources to these accomplished business leaders, Chief is the first company of its kind to put the practical building blocks in place needed to close the leadership gap once and for all. I'm honored to stand alongside Carolyn and Lindsay as they shift the reality of what leadership looks like in modern companies."
Chief membership includes its critically acclaimed peer group experience where members meet monthly with a trained executive coach to facilitate deep connection, overcome challenges and provide transformative support. Members also enjoy events and programming such as intimate conversations with industry icons and workshops specifically designed for senior leaders to sharpen their knives, including sessions on team leadership, media training and securing board seats. The community has access to connect online as well as in-person at its sophisticated clubhouse in Tribeca.
"We created Chief to address the dearth of specialized networks and services for women in leadership positions who are paving the path for future generations," said Childers. "The greater impact of Chief extends beyond what we have already built in one city alone. Our remarkable growth and expanding waitlist illustrates that we've struck a chord that resonates around the world. We refuse to wait generations to see parity in the C-suite, and we are building the organization to tackle this problem head-on."
In October 2018, Chief announced $3 million in seed funding, bringing its total funding to $25 million. Previous investors include Primary Venture Partners, Flybridge Capital Partners, Accel, BoxGroup, Able Partners, Silas Capital and XFactor Ventures.
Chief is the future of women in the workplace. Created to drive more women into positions of power and keep them there, Chief is a private network designed specifically for senior women leaders — rising VP level through CEO — to strengthen their journey into the C-suite, cross-pollinate power across industries and effect change from the top-down. Co-founders Carolyn Childers and Lindsay Kaplan launched in January 2019, and in its first six months membership grew to over 700 of the most formidable senior leaders in New York, representing over 500 companies and a waitlist of more than 5,000. Chief is currently headquartered in New York and accepting members to its waitlist nationwide. Apply to join at chief.com.