Tech

AI-powered communication tool Ovida wins Shark Tank-style Better Workplaces Challenge Cup at SHRM 24

This year’s winner was decided live at SHRM’s annual conference in Chicago.
article cover

Adam DeRose

3 min read

Quick-to-read HR news & insights

From recruiting and retention to company culture and the latest in HR tech, HR Brew delivers up-to-date industry news and tips to help HR pros stay nimble in today’s fast-changing business environment.

SHRMLabs, an innovation lab and HR tech accelerator program developed by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), hosted a Shark Tank-style pitch competition, Better Workplaces Challenge Cup (BWCC), at this year’s SHRM 24 annual HR conference in Chicago.

On Tuesday, representatives from startups eLockr, Ovida, and PeduL pitched Owl Ventures Managing Director Ian Chiu, LaRosa’s CPO Steve Browne, and Amber Clayton, SHRM’s senior director of knowledge center operations. More than 600 startups applied to the competition. Ahead of the event, SHRMLabs winnowed the competition to three finalists.

In front of a lunchtime crowd, Ovida won the cup and the $50,000 cash prize.

“Ovida took it home today, and that was really a reflection of a couple of things,” SHRM Chief Transformation Officer Andy Biladeau told HR Brew. “They are solving a very specific, discrete challenge that organizations are having, which is: How do I scale leadership development really quickly in a highly personalized, validated way…As AI disrupts the workplace, leadership skills will become even more important, and so I think that’s maybe why they ended up at the top of the pile.”

The company wooed judges with its AI-powered insights and analytics on leadership and communications skills. Founded by Alex Haitoglou and Bryan Watson, Ovida aims to “redefine leadership,” and boasts customers like Visa, Intel, and Torch.

“If you really want to get a leading indicator of where the HR professional is going, technology is probably going to be a step or two out in front of the profession,” Biladeau said.

SHRM is eyeing this tech space via SHRMLabs to identify what’s coming in the HR tech market, and understand how nascent technology will impact the HR profession and professional. Incoming tech and trends influence SHRM’s development of resources for HR pros and SHRM members.

SHRMLabs, which Biladeau oversees as part of his transformation portfolio, works with thousands of startups in the HR space with its accelerator program and the BWCC.

“The intent of the BWCC is to cast a wide net in terms of what’s going on in that early stage startup space,” Biladeau said. “You have a lot of passionate founders, and we want to give them a platform to not only get the word out about what they’re seeing, but also for us to get educated so we can educate our members on what’s happening in the HR tech space.”

Quick-to-read HR news & insights

From recruiting and retention to company culture and the latest in HR tech, HR Brew delivers up-to-date industry news and tips to help HR pros stay nimble in today’s fast-changing business environment.