With the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the business trends in labour markets are moving towards automation and digitalisation. Due to this, millions of people are losing their jobs as companies are now looking to survive and are figuring out how to operate in the current pandemic situation. According to a survey by the McKinsey Global Institute, around 800 occupations in 46 countries estimated that between 400 million and 800 million jobs could be lost due to robotic automation by 2030. And, this is where the Amsterdam-based startup SkillLab wants to make a difference.
SkillLab, a technology company that turns skills into career paths, has raised €1.5M in its Seed round of funding from Dutch impact venture fund Rubio Impact Ventures.
Use of the funds
Rubio Impact Ventures is the lead investor for SkillLab’s first investment round. The Dutch investor aims to scale the growth and impact of the Amsterdam-based startup and share ambitious goals over the next years. Rubio’s commitment to social impact ensures that SkillLab continues to strive towards a vision where everyone has a pathway to employment.
“We were immediately inspired by SkillLab’s potential to empower millions of job seekers worldwide: there is no better way to include people in society than connecting them with jobs in the rapidly changing economy,” says Warner Philips, managing partner at Rubio.
Rubio Impact Ventures is a Netherlands-based leading impact venture fund with over €120M AuM. “Rubio invests in world-changing entrepreneurs who combine a strong positive impact with a scalable commercial business model. An inclusive economy is one of the key focus areas for Rubio, with prior investments in companies such as AI training data leader Samasource, food sharing app OLIO, fair chain supermarket Marqt, and fair chain coffee subscription Wakuli,” says the investor.
What does SkillLab do?
SkillLab was founded in 2018 by Ulrich Scharf and co-founders Karim Bin-Humam, Ragnar Martens, David Yenicelik. The technology company started out with a focus on the integration of refugees into European labour markets and evolved to assist all job seekers that would benefit from career support.
Currently operating in over 15 countries, the company claims to focus on helping people who may not be able to rely on their networks and pristine CVs in facing these challenges. Ulrich Scharf, SkillLab’s founder, points out “while job titles and degrees may not be transferable, recognising a person’s skills can empower them to find new career directions and promote their value to employers.”
SkillLab’s solution enables employment services and training providers to deliver skill-based career orientation remotely and at scale. Its mobile solution allows people to identify their skill sets and connects them to education and employment opportunities.
The solution is used by public and private employment agencies as well as education and training providers to generate high personal career pathways. It builds on the 13,485 skills of the European Union’s European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations framework and can automatically translate interactions across 27 languages.
SkillLab’s supervisory board
The company has also announced the establishment of a supervisory board. The board is chaired by Steven Koltai, currently with MIT and Harvard. He has over 30 years of experience as an executive and serial entrepreneur.
Mariam Assefa will also be joining the board. She recently retired as Executive Director of World Education Services, a post she held for 38 years. And, Warner Philips, an experienced investor with over 20 years of experience in the ImpacTech field will also be joining.
Last year, SkillLab graduated from the Google AI Impact Challenge Accelerator, an intensive and selective program focused on accelerating innovative organisations from around the world that are applying AI to social and environmental problems.
In 2019, SkillLab’s innovative use of AI was recognised with the Google AI Impact Award. It was selected among 20 organisations to share a $25M (approx €20.5M) in grants from Google.org, credit and consulting from Google Cloud and coaching by Google’s AI experts as a grantee of the Google AI Impact Challenge.