Enterprise VR training company Strivr raises $35 million to help reskill the workforce

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Strivethe company behind an enterprise-focused virtual reality (VR) training platform used by big names including Walmart, Verizon and Bank of America, has raised $35 million in a an extension of sound Previously Announced $30M Series B Funding Round.

The latest cash injection comes amid growing concerns over the so-called “big resignation,” with some 4.3 million American workers quit their jobs in January alone. Add to that a growing burnout within the workforce and a broader trend that sees countless employees rethinking their life and career goals, and it’s clear that companies can turn to technologies that not only help attract new workers, but also retain existing ones.

“Over the past two years, the pandemic has confined many workers to their homes and led to companies laying off or laying off large portions of their workforce,” Strivr CEO Derek Belch told AFP. VentureBeat. “It served as a catalyst for people to reevaluate their goals and careers, which, combined with burnout, a desire to be paid more and a lack of opportunities for advancement, resulted in a record number of workers to resign voluntarily. The needs of employees have changed and companies must adapt.

But how, exactly, could immersive technologies like VR fix these problems? In the end, it all comes down to self-improvement in what is quickly becoming a ‘remote-first’ world – people need to feel they are progressing in their chosen career, whether either through further training or retraining.

“With the Great Resignation continuing – and with no signs of abating – training today plays a more critical role than ever in retaining and attracting talent,” Belch explained.

Strivr in action

The Strivr platform

Founded in 2015, Strivr provides businesses with everything they need to deliver training through virtual reality, including software, content, hardware, and related services such as strategy and planning. The platform combines learning theory, data science, spatial design, authoring tools and more, addressing specific business needs across devices and locations, while providing analytics for usage and engagement information.

“At its core, we’re an immersive learning platform — our platform enables companies to scale and measure the effectiveness of headset-integrated virtual reality,” Belch said. “We partner with our customers on all aspects of deployment, from discovery and strategic planning, to program design, content production, experience creation, configuration, adoption and support. performance analysis.

Strivr: Analytics

It should be noted that Strivr does not develop its own VR headsets in-house, but rather chooses to partner with third-party vendors.

For example, in 2017, Walmart announced that it start training employees in virtual reality using Strivr, and a year later the company redoubled its efforts when it purchased 17,000 Oculus Go headsets train employees at its thousands of outlets, which allowed staff to practice loading pickup towera new online order pick-up option, before it is installed in its stores.

Since Strivr’s first round of Series B funding two years ago, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company has amassed an impressive roster of new clients such as MGM Resorts and Bank of America, the latter who revealed last year it would roll out virtual reality training for some 45,000 employees at 4,000 banks in the United States. the extension of the series B.

Hospitality and entertainment giant MGM Resorts, meanwhile, is using Strivr to train employees at its destinations in Las Vegas, Michigan and New Jersey, with plans to expand that in the future.

“We hope to expand this partnership and use virtual reality to make the hiring process easier by giving candidates a first-hand look at a job before they commit to applying,” Belch explained.

Elsewhere, the Series B expansion round was led by Georgian, with additional investment from Accenture Ventures, Workday Ventures and Gaingels.

Employee development

There are various players in the field of virtual reality-based training, including Talespin which recently raised $20 millionand interactions who closed an $18 million deal last year funding cycle. Collectively, all of this activity suggests that there is a growing demand for virtual reality in the workplace, whether for employee onboarding, health and safety training, customer service coaching, or simply l improving workers’ ‘soft’ skills such as empathy.

“Due to increased stress from the pandemic, empathy has become a highly sought-after skill – we helped Walmart deliver immersive empathy training that their employees were actively seeking because they wanted this kind of preparation for conversations difficulties they had with customers every day,” Belch said. “And that’s another trend we’ve seen: a greater focus on meaningful employee development — learning is no longer a checkbox. It’s a strategic advantage that many senior executives use to boost hiring and retention.

Although the pandemic has probably played a major role in the adoption of virtual reality by companies, the growth metaverse hypedriven by deep-pocketed companies such as Meta, is also playing a part – and it looks like VR is finally finding real use cases outside of gaming and “gimmicky” peripheral use cases.

“We have witnessed many changes over the past two years, particularly with the COVID pandemic which has disrupted businesses, changed the way we work and interact with others, and created a number of social challenges. economics – not to mention the recent emergence of the metaverse was huge,” Belch added. “I think what we’ve seen is that VR isn’t just for ‘early adopters’ anymore. Companies in all major industries are now integrating immersive elements into their learning programs across many new and different use cases.

This is evidenced by the strategic investments that Strivr has attracted from Bank of America, Workday Ventures and professional services giant Accenture, which recently purchased 60,000 VR headsets as part of its staff integration and training efforts. The company said thousands of employees will work from its “Nth floor” Enterprise metaverse from day one.

“On our virtual campus, new hires join small teams to participate in immersive activities to clarify what kind of work we do, how we do it, and how our culture comes to life on a day-to-day basis,” the director said. CEO of Accenture Ventures. Tom Lounibos told VentureBeat. “The Metaverse offers the opportunity to expand active learning with a consistent level of quality, deeper retention, and higher employee satisfaction.”

These strategic investments will also see Strivr join Spotlight on the Accenture Ventures projectas good as Workday Software Partner Programwhich means that Strivr will be integrated into the Workday Content Cloud to give him a direct link to Workday’s client companies.

With an additional $35 million in the bank, Strivr is well funded to bolster its business as companies across all industry sectors seek new ways to engage, develop and retrain their distributed workforce – this will include scaling its content offering via its SDK, and growing its strategic partnerships to develop its content libraries. In addition, the company is preparing to bring the Strivr Portal to all customers in the coming months, which serves as a central channel for hardware fleet tracking, content management, and data mining and analytics.

“Traditional learning and development methods are not effective, efficient, scalable, and data-driven enough for today’s and tomorrow’s business needs,” Belch noted. “Virtual reality enables a learning-by-doing experience, regardless of the job, concept or task to be learned.”

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