THE ROUND COMES LESS THAN A YEAR AFTER SMITH MADE HISTORY AS ONE OF THE FEW BLACK WOMEN TO RAISE $1 MILLION OR MORE IN VENTURE CAPITAL FUNDING.
BY KIMBERLY WILSON ·
Praxis Labs —a Black-founded virtual reality-based diversity and inclusion learning platform designed to redefine work cultures—announced that it raised a $15.5 million Series A round today to develop and expand the way clients train employees on and measure diversity and inclusion (D&I) through research-backed VR experiences.
“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.
Led by Norwest Venture Partners and Emerson Collective, the diverse group of investors also included Penny Jar Capital (pinned by Steph Curry), Concrete Rose Capital, SoftBank’s SB Opportunity Fund, Ulu Ventures, Precursor Ventures and Firework Ventures.
Smith added, “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 is off to an impressive start, with big name clients such as eBay, Amazon, Google, Target, Etsy, ServiceNow and Uber using their technology to redefine work cultures, develop inclusive leaders, and drive sustainable change for individuals and organizations. Through specially-crafted 30-minute learning modules curated from first-hand perspectives of different races, genders, abilities, sexualities, body sizes, and more, employees are immersed in experiences designed to help build empathy and sustained behavior change.
“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.”
The round comes less than a year after the company announced they raised a $3.2 seed round, making history with Smith as one of the few Black women to raise $1 million or more in venture capital funding.
PHOTO CREDIT: MAKEDA SANDFORD
Article Courtesy of ESSENCE: https://www.essence.com/news/money-career/praxis-lab-series-a-15-million/