Upskilling the Workforce for Digital Careers: Announcing our investment in Springboard
I’ve had an interest in the changing workforce starting back in my days at Merced Systems. For many, the barriers to career change and job fulfillment are too high. This social failure comes at great human cost — like underuse of talent and workplace misery — and creates a drag on the economy.
Two workforce trends caught my interest and led to my involvement with Springboard, a rapidly growing technology company focused on helping digital workers switch careers and get upskilled. The first is the incredible need for technical workers across a range of high impact, high paying roles and lack of qualified candidates. The Obama Whitehouse predicted 1.4 million computer science related jobs by 2020, with only 400,000 graduates to fill them. Code.org claims there are over 500,000 unfilled computer-related positions open right now. And that’s just for the software development related work in the digital economy. The number swells when you consider digital Marketing, selling technology, info security and all the supporting analytical positions across these organizations requiring core technical know-how.
The second is the rise of the millennial worker, ushering in a generation who thinks about their work and the careers a bit differently than my generation. The average millennial worker will have 15 jobs in their career. They’ll change every 2–3 years, in contrast with older generations who tend to stay in roles longer.
More workers changing jobs more often, doing tasks requiring more and more technical skill, and loads of open, high value roles going unfilled. That seemed like a worthy problem and opportunity to us.
One manifestation of this opportunity is the need for professional development and upskilling once a worker is in the workforce. Millennial workers are starting from a tough spot, as already, 46% of recent college grads are underemployed. Enter Springboard: A technology company created to help the modern workforce get upskilled and switch into high demand digital careers.
About a year ago, we met one of the founders, Gautam Tambay and were immediately impressed with the company’s accomplishments in their business and with him personally. When he and his co-founder, Parul Gupta, approached us about a Series A investment, they were already at an impressive run rate in revenue, while burning very little cash. When you come across business momentum like that, with a strong team, and a culture of efficiency, it’s hard to pass up. And when it falls into a macro thesis — the changing workforce dynamic — we felt compelled by the opportunity.
They also realized a modern alternative to graduate school couldn’t just offer online courses with an efficient delivery platform — it had to offer the human mentorship and career assistance people get at physical schools. With professional mentors from Amazon to Uber, to AirBnB, students get industry expert coaches who shepherd them through their studies, and help them deliver portfolio projects that employers value at the hiring stage. The company also offers high-touch student relations services, so a student feels supported along the way to complete the program, including job placement services towards the end of the course, with a placement guarantee or your money back. Students don’t need to quit their day job, relocate, and can get professional grade training with talented mentors and be assured of a good job, at higher pay, at the end of the process.
Springboard offers three month upskilling courses, and six month career switching courses. Their first Career Track course in Data Science, has been a huge success for the company and the company recently launched its second in Digital Marketing.
Springboard is working as a business, and it’s working in changing people’s lives. We are excited to partner with talented founders Gautam and Parul and watch the impact Springboard will have on the careers and lives of so many.