Forage is pleased to announce it has closed a USD$25 million Series B funding round led by Blackbird Ventures, with participation from Telstra Ventures, Citi Ventures, Gaingels, Cap Table Coalition, ETF@JFFLabs and existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners and FundersClub.
This latest round of funding, just one year after their Series A, comes after a period of significant growth for the company, with 1.8 million candidates turning to Forage’s virtual experience programs to build career skills and experience during the pandemic.
The new funding will allow Forage to invest in its core product, virtual experience programs, as well as focus on expanding its curriculum of programs.
With over 100 programs live on the Forage platform from employers such as General Electric, SAP, JPMorgan, Electronic Arts, Aon, PwC and HSBC, Forage is excited to expand its offering into a broader range of industries and verticals (such as healthcare, biotech, life sciences, retail and media).
“Forage is solving a huge problem that is truly worth caring about,” said Tom Humphrey from Blackbird Ventures, who will be joining Forage’s Board. “By positioning itself as the glue between the futures of education and work, Forage is defining a completely new and exciting market category.”
There is a fundamental mismatch between the skills that candidates possess, and the skills that employers identify as being critical to job success. This results in misalignment between candidates and employers, with employers basing hiring decisions on imperfect data and processes, and candidates ending up in roles not aligned with their skills and interests.
Forage is tackling this problem to ensure that candidates can build critical career skills and visibility before the hiring process, and companies can inspire the next generation of talent through Forage’s virtual experience programs.
Further, traditional recruitment methods have significantly disadvantaged students from underserved communities and underrepresented minorities. Forage’s mission is to reverse this trend and create a world where every person has the opportunity to build the skills and industry knowledge required to excel in any role, for free.
Courses take participants on average 5 hours to complete and simulate projects or tasks that employees at a particular company would complete, allowing students to build real-life, tangible skills and truly understand what their career could look like.
Dorothy Adu-Mfum, a law student who has used Forage to build skills and experience and is about to join Clifford Chance as a Trainee Solicitor, said “Forage helped make my dreams of becoming a commercial lawyer a reality by giving me invaluable work experience opportunities at leading commercial law firms, which I could complete in my own time.”
Forage also partners with over 350 universities globally to embed virtual experience programs in coursework and their careers centres, including with Macquarie University, Maynooth University, UCLA, University of Westminster, and National University of Singapore. This allows universities to bridge the gap between tertiary education and the workplace, ensuring that students graduate from college with the real-life skills and understanding required to apply for, and land, a job.
“I must say that I love Forage because of the opportunity it provides students of all backgrounds,” said Kristi Brescia, Instructor in the Department of Computer Science at CUNY College of Staten Island. “It is a fabulous tool for students to explore career paths, the world of work, connect to recruiters and additionally gives a student confidence to apply for positions that lead to full time employment. I couldn’t ask for a better tool for students to use.”
For its partner organizations, Forage provides an affordable, scalable way of flipping the traditional recruitment method of ‘hire then train’ on its head. Through Forage programs, employers can educate, upskill and inspire broad and diverse audiences, ensuring they have the tools to succeed in the recruitment process and beyond. Forage’s programs create more reliable and effective hiring funnels for its hiring partners, with Forage students being 4 times more likely to be offered a role than their non-Forage counterparts, and 5 times more likely to accept the role.