Canadian edtech Riipen pulls in funding

Vancouver, British Columbia and Toronto-based Riipen, a platform that enables companies to connect with post-secondary schools on real-world projects, has secured C$5 million in funding.

Vancouver, British Columbia and Toronto-based Riipen, a platform that enables companies to connect with post-secondary schools on real-world projects, has secured C$5 million in funding. The investors were Impact Investors Reach Capital, Strada Education Network, SEI Ventures, EduLab Capital Partners, Entangled Group, Atrium and ASU ScaleU.

PRESS RELEASE

VANCOUVER (December 11th, 2019) — Riipen, the platform that enables companies to connect with post-secondary schools on real-world projects, today announced a $5 million CND investment from Impact Investors Reach Capital, along with Strada Education Network, SEI Ventures, EduLab Capital Partners, Entangled Group, Atrium, and ASU ScaleU. Founded by undergraduate students in 2015, Riipen now serves more than 5,000 employers and 40,000 students at 150 colleges and universities globally.

“At the University of Toronto, we aim to provide students with a bridge between theoretical and practical learning, and to support their understanding of how the material they have learned in class takes shape in the world.” said Laurie Harrison, Director, Online Learning Strategies, University of Toronto. “Riipen enables us to create more of those connections between the University and the business community, as well as diversify the ways in which our students can access experiential learning opportunities”

According to research from the Strada Institute for the Future of Work, 43% of recent graduates are now underemployed (working in jobs that don’t require a degree). The challenge stems, in part, from the fact that corporate executives often view college graduates as unprepared for real-world problem-solving. Research also suggests that a lack of access to tangible experiences, such as internships, may actually perpetuate equity gaps in the workplace. Low-income and minority students often cannot participate in internships at the same rates as their wealthier and better-connected peers.

“Given rising levels of underemployment and a widening skills gap, we are focused on solutions that help learners develop in-demand skills.” said Shauntel Garvey, General Partner, Reach Capital. “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.”

“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.”

About Riipen:
Riipen is enabling transformative opportunities for companies to collaborate with post-secondary students on real-time, real-world challenges that are embedded directly into coursework. To date, Riipen has enabled 40,000 students at 150+ post-secondary schools to do 1.5 million hours of applied learning with 5,000 companies. Their mission: to help students of all backgrounds and geographies to boost their skills, gain career clarity, network, and find jobs they love.