October 20, 2021 – Praxis Labs, a provider of a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) learning platform designed to train employees through virtual reality (VR) experiences, has this week announced that it has raised USD $15.5 million in an oversubscribed Series A financing round co-led by Norwest Venture Partners and Emerson Collective.
Praxis Labs stated that it will use the funds to scale its platform, expand its learning journey library, add several key leadership roles and hire more broadly within the company. Other investors included Penny Jar Capital (anchored by Steph Curry), Concrete Rose Capital, SoftBank’s SB Opportunity Fund, Ulu Ventures, Precursor Ventures, and Firework Ventures.
“Our society is more segregated than ever, and the workplace is often the most diverse space we enter – where we encounter differences of backgrounds and perspectives,” said Praxis Labs co-founder and CEO, Elise Smith. “We want to help employees better work across those differences – to advance inclusion and belonging in their teams through policies, practices, products, and services that produce equitable outcomes. This funding validates our work and will help us deepen our ties with corporate workforces as well as expand to new functions and industries with context-specific learning journeys.”
Praxis Labs’ platform simulates first-hand incidents of bias and discrimination in the workplace from the perspectives of either an employee encountering bias or discrimination firsthand, or of a co-worker playing the bystander or complicit in the encounter. Employees can practice responding in the moment, reflect on their decisions, apply their learning in the workplace, and provide confidential feedback on their experience.
Through a dashboard on the platform, employees can set commitments to practice behaviors or interventions, and revisit certain incidents while reviewing their progress to becoming conscious and inclusive leaders. The platform’s Pivotal Insights dashboard also analyzes aggregate data from every participant to deliver administrators actionable insights into equity and inclusion within an organization, including the ability to highlight issues or areas of concern, as well as interventions to improve equitable outcomes.
“We’re excited to share this journey with our team of diverse, and brilliant individuals who offer their first-hand experiences to bring Praxis Labs to fruition,” said Praxis Labs co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Heather Shen. “So much of this work is about recognizing, validating, and amplifying marginalized experiences, and we’re eager to enter this new phase where we can reach every learner at scale.”
Jeff Crowe, Managing Partner at Norwest Venture Partners, commented: “Fortune 1000 companies spend billions each year on external DEI training alone, and those budgets are accelerating amid the social justice movements of the past year. Praxis Labs’ differentiated use of virtual reality (VR) creates an immersive experience for the user that builds the empathy so critical to DEI.”
According to the company, some of its blue chip clients include eBay, Amazon, Google, Target, Etsy, ServiceNow and Uber. For more information on Praxis Labs and its VR diversity, equity and inclusion learning platform, please visit the company’s website.
Image / video credit: Praxis Labs / YouTube