Praxis Labs Raises $15.5M in Oversubscribed Series A Led by Norwest Venture Partners and Emerson Collective

Company brings diversity and inclusion to enterprises across America including Uber, Etsy, ServiceNow, eBay, Amazon, Google and Target
Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 7:30 AM CDT

NEW YORK, Oct. 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Praxis Labs, the leading justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) learning platform designed to redefine work cultures through research-backed virtual reality (VR) experiences, announced today that it closed its oversubscribed Series A financing co-led by Norwest Venture Partners and Emerson Collective. A diverse group of investors participated in the round – including Penny Jar Capital (anchored by Steph Curry), Concrete Rose Capital, SoftBank's SB Opportunity Fund, Ulu Ventures, Precursor Ventures, and Firework Ventures.

Praxis Labs will use the funds to scale the platform, expand its learning journey library, add several key leadership roles and hiring more broadly within the company.

"Our society is more segregated than ever, and the workplace is often the most diverse space we enter - where we encounter differences of backgrounds and perspectives," said Praxis Labs co-founder and CEO, Elise Smith. "We want to help employees better work across those differences - to advance inclusion and belonging in their teams  through policies, practices, products, and services that produce equitable outcomes. This funding validates our work and will help us deepen our ties with corporate workforces as well as expand to new functions and industries with context-specific learning journeys."

Praxis Labs is designed to redefine work cultures, develop inclusive leaders, and drive sustainable change for individuals and organizations. Blue chip clients include eBay, Amazon, Google, Target, Etsy, ServiceNow and Uber.

Praxis Labs changes the way clients train employees on and measure JEDI through research-backed VR experiences. The platform simulates first-hand incidents of bias and discrimination in the workplace from the perspectives of either an employee encountering bias or discrimination firsthand, or of a co-worker playing the bystander or complicit in the encounter.

Praxis Labs lets employees practice responding in the moment, reflect on their decisions, apply their learning in the workplace, and provide confidential feedback on their experience. Through the dashboard, employees can set commitments to practice behaviors or interventions, and revisit certain incidents while reviewing their progress to becoming conscious and inclusive leaders.

The Pivotal Insights dashboard analyzes aggregate data from every participant to deliver client administrators actionable insights into equity and inclusion at their organization, including the ability to highlight issues or areas of concern, as well as research-backed interventions to improve equitable outcomes.

"We're excited to share this journey with our team of diverse, and brilliant individuals who offer their first-hand experiences to bring Praxis Labs to fruition," said Praxis Labs co-founder and chief product officer, Heather Shen. "So much of this work is about recognizing, validating, and amplifying marginalized experiences, and we're eager to enter this new phase where we can reach every learner at scale."

"Our relationship with Elise stems back to the company's seed days. Even then, it was clear that she had tapped into a burning market need for immersive training around diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) that actually works," said Jeff Crowe, managing partner, Norwest Venture Partners. "Fortune 1000 companies spend billions each year on external DEI training alone, and those budgets are accelerating amid the social justice movements of the past year. Praxis Labs' differentiated use of virtual reality (VR) creates an immersive experience for the user that builds the empathy so critical to DEI.

"We're excited to partner with Elise and Heather and amplify their work. They are outstanding, inclusive leaders, and along with their diverse team, are solving such an important problem," said Fern Mandelbaum, managing director, Emerson Collective. "We are committed to advancing JEDI, and the approach, engagement, and impact Praxis Labs is driving with their enterprise partners is incredibly powerful."

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Rakia Reynolds / Samya France

About Praxis Labs
Founded in 2019 by co-founders Elise Smith (CEO) and Heather Shen (CPO), Praxis Labs is changing the way organizations train and measure on justice, diversity, equity and inclusion (JEDI) through immersive learning experiences in Virtual Reality (VR) and actionable insights on its learning platform. Leveraging perspective-taking immersive learning experiences, Praxis Labs' 30-minute learning modules included in 6-month and 12-month program packages help employees build empathy and create sustained behavior change. Focused on impact, Praxis Labs has partnered with large-scale organizations including eBay, Zoom, Amazon, Google and Target to help make their workplaces – and ultimately, society – more equitable.

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