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Virtual Reality Startup Raises $12M To Help Displaced Workers Retrain For New Jobs

TRANSFR is bringing the power of VR training to workers in hard-hit regions and industries; pioneering a new approach to training in partnership with states, major US employers

TRANSFR VR, an immersive learning startup pioneering the application of virtual reality to simulate on-the-job training, today announced $12 million in Series A funding, which will enable the company to scale training programs designed to boost economic mobility in regions most heavily impacted by skills gaps and unemployment.

The round was led by Firework Ventures, an emerging venture fund that invests in human-centered future of work companies. Firework, founded by veteran VC investor Brigette Lau and Ashley Bittner, formerly of Owl Ventures, brings a unique blend of technology and policy expertise to early-stage investing. Bittner, a former Department of Education appointee, will join the board.

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“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 Alabama, TRANSFR is partnering with AIDT, Alabama’s workforce agency, and the Alabama Community College System to use TRANSFR’s curriculum and Oculus Quest virtual reality equipment to provide skills training for careers that need 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.

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“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.”

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