November 20, 2020 – TRANSFR VR, an immersive learning startup developing a virtual reality (VR) application to help simulate on-the-job training, has announced USD $12 million in Series A funding, which the company states will enable it to scale training programs designed to boost economic mobility in regions most heavily impacted by skills gaps and unemployment.
The funding round was led by Firework Ventures. Firework joins TRANSFR’s existing investors, which include Album VC, Imagination Capital, professional golfer Greg Norman, education executive Stuart Udell, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, and Degreed founder David Blake.
“By simulating on the-job experience, we’re helping to transform skills training into a more engaging and immersive experience and bridge the gap between work-based learning and classroom instruction,” said Bharanidharan Rajakumar, founder and CEO of TRANSFR. “Empowering high-potential workers with access to hands-on, practical training is unlocking better careers and higher wages—regardless of their employment history.”
In addition to the Series A funding announcement, TRANSFR also stated that in Alabama, US, it is partnering with AIDT, Alabama’s workforce agency, and the Alabama Community College System to use TRANSFR’s curriculum and the Oculus for Business VR platform to provide skills training for careers that do not require a 4-year degree. Through a new statewide partnership called JumpstartAL, job-seekers across the state can access simulation-based training to prepare for roles in fast-growing industries such as automotive manufacturing, construction and other skilled trades, according to TRANSFR.
“Making skills training more accessible, relevant, and engaging can help to bring technical careers to life and open them up to workers in search of their next step,” said Ed Castile, Deputy Secretary of Alabama Department of Commerce and Executive Director, AIDT. “This work is helping to bridge the gap between unemployed workers and hands-on, technical skills training required in fast-growing fields across our state.”
“Community colleges are always on the front lines of trying to connect education and training with the demands of employers at the state and local level,” said David Walters, Director of Special Projects and System Initiatives at the Alabama Community College System. “The lifelike simulations we’re employing are helping to equip students to compete and thrive in high-growth industries.”
TRANSFR added that as employers and training providers are turning to VR to provide hands-on, skills-based training for high-demand jobs, beyond the state of Alabama, its suite of immersive learning technology and assessment tools is being used by other local workforce agencies, schools, colleges, and employers, including Lockheed Martin, and Mazda Toyota Manufacturing.
“The troubling reality is that the current chapter of labor market volatility is perpetuating long-standing wage and skill gaps among women, low-income families, and people of color,” said Ashley Bittner, founding partner of Firework Ventures. “We view immersive learning technology as a powerful tool in building a more equitable and inclusive labor market, while filling gaps for industries and employers that need talent now.”
For more information on TRANSFR VR and its immersive learning solutions, please visit the company’s website.
Video credit: TRANSFR VR