On Thursday, professional network for women executives Chief announced that it raised $15 million in new funding. This brings the company’s total capital raised to $40 million.
Former Casper VP Lindsay Kaplan and Handy SVP Carolyn Childers launched Chief in 2019 to provide a sense of community to women at the VP level or higher. As both Kaplan and Childers moved up the corporate ladder, they realized that the corporate board room can feel like a boys club, and there aren’t enough resources to support women executives.
Women must apply to join the Chief network and then pay a membership fee once accepted. Chief then pairs up its members in small groups to foster relationships. It also provides mentorship and hosts events.
Part of the Chief experience involves its member clubhouse in Tribeca, which is stylishly furnished for in-person meet-ups. However, the coronavirus pandemic has thrown a wrench in all physical gatherings. As a result, Chief had to make all of its workshops, meetings and group events completely virtual. But this hasn’t slowed Chief down, the company actually saw participation in its events triple in the month of April. Its flagship Core Groups have also seen record attendance.
“We’ve always thought of ourselves as a community that happens to have a space, not a space that a community is built around,” Chief co-founder Lindsay Kaplan told Built In. “In response to the COVID-19 pandemic we moved our services online to meet our members where they are.... The transition has been positive as our engagement and satisfaction across all services continue to rise.”
Chief is also in the process of expanding its network to new areas where it sees member interest. Chief previously announced that it will be opening a branch in Chicago over the summer, and a branch in Los Angeles later this year. This expansion is already underway, and several founding members are already using Chief’s resources, albeit remotely. This new funding will help Chief finance its growth and add the tech infrastructure needed for new services.
Chief has over 2,500 members who hold leading roles at companies like Google, HBO, IBM, Walmart, Spotify and more. Over 8,000 people are on its waitlist.