A Revolt Is Brewing at Prince Harry’s Silicon Valley Gig BetterUp


Prince Harry signed on as the chief impact officer of BetterUp last spring, promising to help promote the startup’s mission of “mental fitness” and its army of more than 2,000 professional coaches. It’s likely a lucrative gig for the British royal: BetterUp raised $300 million at a $4.7 billion valuation in October.

But just six months later, an uprising has been brewing among the company’s career coaches following BetterUp’s recent announcement that it would modify their contracts—resulting in what those mentors said was effectively a sneaky pay cut—according to six coaches who spoke with The Daily Beast.

“There’s so many of us now who are upset,” said one coach whose effective pay was slated to fall by nearly a third, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to discuss private company matters. “I would say my heart is broken. And I think there’s really questionable ethics going on.”

“They’ve turned us into a commodity,” added another.

Two key issues were at the center of the still-evolving dispute: coaches’ pay and a new rating system that would also influence their fees. The company announced a plan to cut a stipend coaches used for note-taking, researching clients, and assigning activities. The firm’s new metrics, meanwhile, retroactively evaluated coaches in part based on how “life-changing” a client found their guidance and how frequently they met for sessions. Those changes in particular stirred unrest over concerns that they would violate industry norms and cause coaches to pander to their clients rather than offer impartial feedback.


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