Can AI Be Your Next Career Coach? Practica Says Yes!
Can AI Be Your Next Career Coach? Practica Says Yes!

Can AI Be Your Next Career Coach? Practica Says Yes!

In the age of artificial intelligence, the question arises: Can AI serve as your career mentor? Practica, a startup that initially began as a marketplace for one-on-one executive coaching, believes the answer is a resounding yes.

The Evolution of Practica

Founded in January 2020 by Dave Whittemore, former Head of Product at Thinkful, and Andy Scheff, a former engineering manager at Dropbox, Practica initially focused on traditional executive coaching. However, the founders soon realized that the high cost of coaching services was a significant barrier for many people. This led them to integrate AI technology into their platform.

The AI Mentor

Practica's AI system is designed to function as a personalized workplace mentor. It covers a wide range of topics, from management and strategy to personal development and marketing. The AI leverages a technique called Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG) to match the best learning resources to a given situation. It then explains the relevance of these sources, much like a human coach would, and encourages users to read them as "homework."

The Human Touch

Despite the AI integration, Practica continues to offer human coaching services, primarily to businesses. About 90% of their business is B2B, and it has become profitable on an operating basis. The AI coaching is seen as a way to make executive coaching more accessible, with plans ranging from $10 to $20 per month per user.

The Technology Underpinning

Practica's AI system is built on a vast knowledge base developed over years of human coaching. It uses a variety of coaching tools, including instruction, questioning for context, and mapping learning progress to career goals. Unlike general-purpose AI chatbots, Practica's AI remembers the user's history, allowing for a more personalized and effective coaching experience.

The Future of AI Coaching

Practica has raised $1.5 million in outside funding across two rounds in 2021 and 2022. The startup aims to expand the reach of executive coaching, making it more accessible and effective through AI technology.


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