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Escalate Raises $1.26M in Pre-Seed Funding to Scale AI-driven Upskilling and Retention Platform

SILVER SPRING, Md., October 11, 2023 — Today, Escalate — an enterprise technology platform that reduces frontline employee turnover through targeted upskilling and customized support systems — announced it has raised $1.26M in pre-seed funding. Investors in the round include RockCreek, through the Racial Equity Capital Fund partnership with Exelon; Potencia Ventures; TEDCO; Techstars; ECMC Foundation; Gurtin Ventures; Blue Zone Partners; Future State; and Brad Collins.

Turnover of frontline workers and a lack of qualified pipeline for middle-skill corporate positions cost retail companies $40B per year — with turnover at consistently high rates, a majority of frontline workers report leaving their jobs because of a lack of advancement opportunities. Escalate’s platform helps companies increase frontline retention by 50% or more.

“Escalate harnesses the latest technology to solve the billion-dollar crisis of frontline employee turnover and to prepare workers to meet the challenges of the future,” said Maria Woodman, director at RockCreek. “We’re proud to partner with Sean Segal, Sienna Daniel and the Escalate team to grow and scale their work to help businesses minimize turnover and maximize talent, which will strengthen companies and communities throughout the country.”

Leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning, Escalate identifies a company’s most overlooked incumbent workers, and then provides skills training powered by automated coaching, facilitated community and on-demand champions — all designed to reduce absenteeism and increase retention. Escalate’s platform goes beyond just learning to encompass the wraparound services that frontline employees need to be successful.

“This funding will give more employers access to our platform, offering completely asynchronous and high-support courses that help individuals succeed in their jobs and see a path to upward mobility,” said Sean Segal, co-founder and CEO of Escalate. “This investment will allow Escalate to scale to empower and support thousands of frontline workers, reducing turnover and positively impacting employers' bottom lines by solving enterprise companies’ most significant talent challenges.”

“Frontline workers are overwhelmingly from historically marginalized communities,” said Sienna Daniel, co-founder and president of Escalate. “We’re thrilled to close this investment round as we work to provide often-overlooked employees with a path to double their wages in 12-to-18 months, while saving companies significant dollars by reducing their frontline turnover.”

“Escalate is poised to solve some of our most pressing workforce issues — ensuring companies lower costs and retain talent, and helping frontline workers achieve unprecedented levels of economic mobility and agency to build their career pathway,” said Taylor McLemore, CEO & partner at Future State, and investor in residence at Techstars. “I look forward to watching them scale and lead in this space for years to come.”

For more information and to see a product demo, visit


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