Education: US 2017

Education: US 2017

According to a 2013 Gallup report, only 11% of employers think that graduating students have skills that fit their needs and studies find that up to 96% of employers are unhappy with their labor pools and new hires. HR teams are making an effort to find top talent, but 83% of HR managers say their systems need an overhaul. This is a double-sided issue crippling the potential of the US workforce and employment marketplace alike. 

Employees want to build the right skills for the job, but struggle to identify the skills they already have, where to go to fill in the gaps with the ones they need and how to prove mastery to employers. The numbers are staggering, 46% of American workers consider themselves underemployed and among those who do have a job, 75% say they are not using their degree or training.

Village Capital is seeking US-based higher ed and workforce-related investments that are focused on building the desired skills to be hired, validating these skills among employers or helping current employees get the training needed to reach the next step in their careers. While engaging in our unique diligence process, Village Capital and AT&T, along with an ecosystem of partners, will support and scale these innovative ventures in a number of ways:

Support and invest through our collaborative venture development program.
Over the course of four months, we will support selected startups with tailored engagements with potential strategic partners and investors, and deep collaboration within the cohort. Our process has been completed over 50 times, is proven to build more successful companies, and is recommended by 96% of our 500 alumni. At the end of the program, the top two peer-selected ventures will receive an offer for $75,000 USD investment in pre-committed capital from VilCap Investments.

Facilitate partnerships between startups and strategic partners.
From our learned experience conducting these programs over the last several years, we have found that what startups need is validation from customers and relationships with key partners to tailor solutions to the market’s evolving issues as they scale. We will streamline this process, helping startups connect with decision-makers across the education landscape positioning these conversations to happen early and often. We will do this through:

  • Pre-committed advisory board members and ecosystem allies who are looking to partner with Vilcap companies
  • Business development sessions that bring in over 100 potential customers, partners, and stakeholders including experts

Provide resources.
We will also provide resources for building your business including:

  • Investment Analyst that works closely with your team to strengthen your case for investment
  • Amazon Web Services: 2 years of AWS credits (up to $5000)
  • Kiva Zip: Automatically qualify for a 10,000 interest-free Kiva Zip Loan
  • Hubspot for Startups: 90% scholarship on all paid HubSpot software for 12 months


We are seeking companies that focus on career skills building and validation, or that intend to expand their services to fill those gaps. We are specifically interested in companies that:

  • Bridge the gap on credentialing and skills-based learning for students in higher education and adult education
  • Focus on rethinking credentials and qualifications in order to better match careers and build skills
  • Provide innovative solutions to skills and training for workers in order to help them get their first job, move up in their career, or start a second career

Furthermore, eligible enterprises must have at least one full-time team member, have a minimum viable product, and have meaningful customer or business validation (not limited to revenue, can also be successful pilot studies, number of users, and/or strategic partnerships).

2017 Program Dates and Locations:

Workshop 1: June 20th – 23rd in Washington, DC
Workshop 2: July 25th – 28th in Phoenix, AZ
Workshop 3: September 19th – 22nd in Denver, CO

Workshops consist of 4-day engagements with companies, investors, and partners.


Better Weekdays

Better Weekdays matches college students with personalized career pathways and significantly reduces corporate recruiting costs


Caseworx is an interactive video, case-based story training platform for corporate and higher education


Cell Ed brings essential skills (literacy, language, and job skills) to any adult with a mobile phone

Ed Leadership SIMS

Ed Leadership SIMS provides computer-based simulations as experiential, scalable professional development for K-12 administrators


Landit enables companies to more successfully invest in and create a compelling women’s experience to attract, develop, and retain high-potential diverse talent


Presentr trains people to be better speakers by providing automated, real-time feedback on communication skills


Qualified is the most effective platform for assessing engineers

Sales2Job Academy

Sales2Job Academy is a training, certification, and placement program that prepares motivated students from underserved populations for sales jobs


SkillSmart is a skills-based platform that improves hiring outcomes by 2x while reducing turnover by over 20%


Unleesh is a mobile-first skill-building platform designed to solve the global skills gap through continuous workforce development.

Upswing International

Upswing International improves college graduation rates using software that better connects online students to on-campus support


WorkAmerica is the employment marketplace for community and technical colleges





Adam J Newman Tyton Partners
Brigette Lau The Social+Capital Partnership
Carolina Huaranca Kapor Capital
George Straschnov Bisk Ventures
Jerome Kamer Education Management Corporation
Kimberly Marshall Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Kristin Sharp New America
Matt Sigelman Burning Glass Technologies
Michelle Weise Strada Education
Nicole Isaac LinkedIn
Ryan Craig University Ventures
Sarah Steinberg JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Tess Posner AI4ALL
Timothy Robinson The Lumina Foundation
Victor Hu Goldman Sachs