Vancouver-based EdTech startup Riipen, which has created an experiential learning platform that allows companies to connect with post-secondary schools on projects, has closed a $5 million CAD pre-Series A.
“We created Riipen to change the relationship between educational institutions and employers.”
The funding saw participation from Reach Capital, Strada Education Network, SEI Ventures, EduLab Capital Partners, Entangled Group, Atrium, and ASU ScaleU. This round brings Riipen’s total funding to date to approximately $6 million. Riipen told BetaKit the funding will be used to diversify its offering in order to reach more students, as well as expand globally.
“Project-based, real-world experience has a profound impact on students. But this kind of experience is out of reach for too many of them,” said Dana Stephenson, founder and CEO of Riipen. “To address this problem, we created Riipen to change the relationship between educational institutions and employers. Riipen is a powerful, proven platform that enables companies to rapidly identify and recruit students to work on projects. Working with Riipen, educational institutions can better serve students by getting them the experience that they need now.”
The team, which currently sits at 49 people, is looking to address youth unemployment and graduate underemployment by connecting students with different industries to eliminate the skills and experience gap between graduates’ abilities and the needs of a given business.
“Given rising levels of underemployment and a widening skills gap, we are focused on solutions that help learners develop in-demand skills,” said general partner at Reach Capital Shauntel Garvey. “We backed Riipen because their experiential learning marketplace allows students to meaningfully engage with employers on relevant projects and enables employers to attract new talent that may have previously been overlooked.”
Founded in 2015 by a team of university students, Riipen claims to now serve more than 5,000 employers and 40,000 students at 150 colleges and universities globally. The platform is used by a number of Canadian institutions, including the University of Waterloo, the University of Toronto, and Concordia University. Riipen has offices in Vancouver and Toronto, and confirmed with BetaKit that it has plans to open an office in the US next year.
Image courtesy Unsplash