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Transfr, a pioneering startup in the field of virtual reality (VR) training and career development tools, has announced a successful $40 million Series C funding round. Led by ABS Capital and featuring participation from notable investors like JPMorgan Chase Impact Finance, Advisory, Lumos Capital Group, Akkadian Ventures, Spring Tide Capital, Firework Ventures, and Album, this funding round takes Transfr’s total raised capital to an impressive $90 million.
The latest infusion of capital will play a vital role in advancing Transfr’s mission to revolutionize workforce training and education. CEO and founder Bharani Rajakumar stated that the funds would be allocated to strengthening Transfr’s executive team, expanding the platform’s reach, and investing in the development of new training simulations encompassing a wider range of skills and scenarios. Additionally, Transfr aims to enhance its existing offerings with fresh content and expand its foreign language training courses, with a particular focus on Spanish language offerings.
“This Series C growth capital investment round was led by ABS Capital to further develop Transfr’s virtual reality simulation and training platform and to expand its programs to accommodate its rapidly growing customer base, which has more than doubled year over year from 2019 to 2023,” Rajakumar explained.
Transfr has emerged as a formidable player in the VR training landscape, boasting a diverse customer base that includes government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, community organizations, workforce development groups, K-12 schools, and higher education institutions. Rajakumar proudly shared that Transfr is now deployed in over 1,000 locations across the United States and has facilitated nearly 400,000 training simulations.
“In less than three years, the company has grown from serving customers in only one state to working with nonprofit, public sector, and enterprise partners in more than 40 states,” he added.
Transfr represents Bharani Rajakumar’s second entrepreneurial venture, following the success of LearnBop, a math tutoring app that was acquired by for-profit education company K12 in 2014. The triumph of LearnBop fueled Rajakumar’s ambition to create tech-forward resources for education and upskilling, leading to the establishment of Transfr.
Transfr’s core offering combines virtual reality demonstrations with hands-on training to deliver realistic experiences. Guided by a digital coach, users receive step-by-step instruction that teaches them to perform tasks, provides feedback based on their actions, and assesses their performance. The focus of Transfr’s training is on “middle skills” jobs, which require more training and education than a high school diploma but less than a four-year college degree. These roles account for a significant portion of the U.S. labor market, yet only around 40% of workers are currently trained to the middle-skill level.
While VR may not entirely replicate the hands-on experience of on-the-job training, Transfr emphasizes that its simulations are created in consultation with subject matter experts and eliminate the need for expensive equipment, materials, and specialized facilities.
“Transfr’s hands-on simulation training provides an immersive learning environment that gives trainees real-world experience in the skills they need for well-paying jobs,” Rajakumar explained.
The effectiveness of VR in workforce training is gaining recognition. A study found that VR was 52% more cost-effective than traditional classroom-based training in a corporate setting. Deloitte projects that by 2024, a quarter of company office meetings will incorporate virtual reality elements, and by 2025, roughly 70% of employee training will integrate VR in some capacity.
Transfr operates as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform and generates revenue through licensing fees paid by customers. To utilize the platform, customers must also procure the necessary headsets, such as Meta’s Oculus Quest headset with Oculus for Business. However, Rajakumar contends that Transfr is more accessible than many traditional upskilling programs, making it an attractive option for individuals seeking to develop the skills required for well-paying jobs.
“From high school students looking to explore career options to adults trying to gain career stability to the formerly incarcerated looking to re-enter the workforce, Transfr makes it easier and safer to develop the skills necessary to secure well-paying, family-sustaining jobs,” Rajakumar asserted. “As an economic development platform, Transfr works closely with both public and private entities to build classroom-to-career pathways.”
Transfr’s innovative approach to training and education, backed by substantial funding, is poised to continue making a significant impact on workforce development and career advancement in the United States and beyond.