Prince Harry joins mind-sharpening startup in San Francisco

San Francisco (AFP) –


Britain's Prince Harry on Tuesday became the first chief "impact officer" of a San Francisco startup that combines coaching and computing to sharpen the mental fitness of employees.

As a member of the BetterUp team, the Duke of Sussex will champion the importance of maximizing human potential worldwide, according to chief executive Alexi Robichaux.

"I firmly believe that focusing on and prioritizing our mental fitness unlocks potential and opportunity that we never knew we had inside of us," Prince Harry said in a BetterUp blog post.

"As the Royal Marine Commandos say, ‘It’s a state of mind.’ We all have it in us."

BetterUp bills itself as the global leader in mobile-based coaching, counseling and mentorship.

The startup's platform combines behavioral science, artificial intelligence, and human coaching to optimize personal growth and professional development, according to the company.

BetterUp last month announced it had raised $125 million in funding at a valuation of $1.73 billion.

Founded in 2013, BetterUp has grown to more than 270 employees and a network of some 2,000 coaches.

A list of the startup's clients included NASA, Chevron, Mars, Genentech, Snap, and Warner Media.

Demand for coaching focused on employee well-being and development has grown "significantly" in the past year, according to BetterUp.

"Self-optimization is not about fixing something that's broken," Prince Harry said.

"It’s about becoming the best version of ourselves, with whatever life throws at us - someone who is ready for the next challenge and can meet setbacks with courage, confidence, and self-awareness."

Amid a highly public spat with Buckingham Palace, Harry and his American wife Meghan now live in California after stepping away from royal duties.