Opportunity and Agency for Blue-Collar Technicians
Spero Ventures invests in Nana Technologies
By Shripriya Mahesh and Sara Eshelman
People are fundamentally good and capable. What they often lack is opportunity. At Spero, we’ve seen how platforms can unlock access to opportunity and provide agency — the way eBay transforms individual collectors into professional sellers, and Skillshare empowers anyone to teach a craft.
We’ve long been seeking a platform that provides the same access to opportunity within the blue-collar workforce. Skilled trades offer a path to predictable, high quality income. They’re not at risk of being automated away. They can’t be outsourced to the other side of the world. They are abundant and naturally distributed across the country.
When we met David Zamir, founder and CEO of Nana, we knew we’d found what we were looking for. The company is named after David’s mother, a single parent who raised him to value hard work and practical skills. These values led David to serve in Israel’s Air Force and then follow his entrepreneurial dreams to the United States. When he hit a speed bump, David made ends meet by teaching himself to repair appliances. This opened his eyes to the joy of solving problems, the power of being able to teach himself a skill that was in demand, and the real challenges of the role. To build the platform that would’ve made his own life easier back then, he founded Nana..
Nana Technologies is a vocational training and job-matching platform that will help close the significant skills gap in the United States. Despite significant unemployment caused by the pandemic, the current workforce is not equipped to meet the need in the market. Nana closes this gap through the Nana Academy. It’s free to anyone who desires to become a skilled-trade technician in fields such as appliance repair and HVAC installation. Training is done virtually at first, and then candidates are matched with local technicians for apprenticeship and on-the-job learning.
Once technicians are trained, they can choose to find jobs through Nana’s AI-enabled matching marketplace, which surfaces local opportunities and recommends them to technicians with the relevant skills. But that’s just the start. Nana empowers technicians with detailed information on the appliance, instructional content, a system for sourcing replacement parts, and live support to ensure that each job is successful.
We like to say that Nana gives its technicians superpowers. As part of the Nana network, technicians have access to the right information at the right time to complete each job. They also have a network of seasoned technicians they can call upon for mentorship and support. The Nana community meets regularly to share best practices and support the Nana team in building a better product that will empower tradespeople.
Nana is led by David Zamir and Oliver Nicholas. They’re building the product David needed as an appliance repair technician and small business owner, using the technical approaches Oliver honed during his time at Uber and Yelp. There’s no better team to bring this vision to life. And so it gives us great pleasure to announce our investment in Nana.
Thank you, David, Oliver, and the whole Nana team, for including Spero Ventures in your adventure!