Groops: Building a More Connected Workplace
Today's Startup Founder of the Day is Dr. Bobbi Wegner, Founder of Groops
Dr. Bobbi Wegner is a clinical psychologist, lecturer at Harvard in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, author, speaker and advisor focused on cultivating individual and workplace wellness through the power of human connection.
After 14 years of practicing psychology while teaching courses at Harvard on Groups & Culture and Motivation to corporate leaders, Dr. Wegner saw an opportunity to serve a bigger need.
She believes that humans are hardwired for group connection, yet we are living and working in the most disconnected era in modern history. We’re stressed, disengaged and wanting more.
"Organizations are working hard to solve this, but they are missing the mark. One-off workshops aren’t cutting it. Teams need help building deeper connection and purpose on an ongoing basis."
- Dr. Wegner
On a mission, Dr. Wegner was looking for purpose-driven hustlers who were willing to join her in helping people build connected workplaces. That’s when she met Charlotte Bingaman (the current VP of Ops at Groops) and Casie Cook (the current Director of Strategy at Groops).
Finding Charlotte and Casie, the Purpose-Driven Hustlers
Charlotte was an architect by training and lived abroad for three years on a military base where she ran groups for parents and families. She fell in love with psychology, and upon return to the States, she went to Harvard and received her Masters in Human Development and Psychology. That is where Dr. Wegner and Charlotte crossed paths. While at Harvard, Charlotte helped Dr. Wegner write a book.
After Charlotte graduated, she took on a research position at Brown University’s Center for Digital Health while working part-time for Groops. Shortly after, Charlotte became the first full-time employee at Groops. She is also currently the head of the teaching team for Dr. Wegner’s classes at Harvard.
Shortly after, Casie joined the team. Casie has a Masters in Creative Writing and has spent her career as an expert digital strategist working with large organizations connecting with hard to reach populations. She left a big corporate job to join Dr. Wegner and Charlotte in their purpose-driven startup.
Dr. Wegner, Charlotte, and Casie are a multifaceted, female-founded team and the heart of Groops. They are deeply committed to each other, their shared goals, and to building connected workplaces within other organizations.
"Psychology is my expertise. Connection is my passion. Groops is both."
- Dr. Wegner
Building a Connected Workplace with Groops
Groops is a global group connection platform that forges connected workplaces through guided conversations led by group psychology experts. Currently, these experts can provide guidance to both teams and individuals.
When people feel more connection to each other and their work, they feel better, stay longer, and are more productive
Groops is also working towards connecting people outside of their organizations, perhaps across the globe, to learn and grow in industry-specific Groops. With the help of AI, Groops will be able to match people in different organizations so that they can share experiences, learn from one another, and grow together in a live Groop. They want to be the global hub of workplace connection that helps people live and work better, together.
Groops is for people-first organizations that want to realize the transformational value of deepening connections and building stronger relationships among their employees. They target highly collaborative, hybrid workforces and organizations focused on building a new culture, deepening an existing one, or reforming an old one.
Despite being in the early stage of its life, Groops has some big partnerships underway with global, highly distributed companies. That being said, what they are most proud of is the success they are seeing in the “virtual room”. A senior executive at a Fortune 500 company recently said in a Groop, “We have never had these types of conversations before, and they are crucial. I already feel closer and am really hopeful for where we are going here.”
How You Can Help
Groops is currently finishing up successful programs with their pilot customers, and are equally focused on new customer acquisition. They are also looking for the right investment partners as they grow. They are looking for investors who also have a shared interest in the future of work, social wellness, B2B SaaS, wellness, and/or early stage.
Groops has highly experienced people on the investment/advisory side, so they are confident that any new investors will be in incredible company.
Feel free to connect with Dr. Wegner at her email address to learn more: bobbi.w @ joingroops.com
Advice to Fellow Founders
"To my fellow founder friends, what you feel is normal. The ups and downs are part of the process. Be clear about your values, goals, and make sure to spend time getting your team right. Then, invest in them. Ideas change. Keep good people happy through honest conversation and real relationships. Spend time caring about the mission beyond the day to day. Make a culture KPI. At Groops, we know relationships matter and determine how we feel. Take care of each other, as a startup is a bumpy ride.
Also, authenticity sells. Authenticity is when what you think, feel, say, and do are in alignment. Be honest - with yourself, your team, your investors, and your customers - even when it is hard. It will serve you way longer than the immediate sale.
Lastly, pause every once in a while and look back. The day to day is so busy, but it is so rewarding to pause as a team and look at the shared story - the story in progress - and how much you have accomplished. Say thanks to each other and what you have most appreciated about the ride. Make it a habit."
- Dr. Bobbi Wegner, Founder of Groops