“The future of work consists of learning a living” (Marshall McLuhan, 1967)
We are excited to have led the US$9 million Series A in retrain.ai. We believe that retrain.ai has the potential to solve one of the biggest challenges facing society: the future of work.
Along with their Seed funding, which has just been announced, this brings retrain.ai's total funding to US$13m.
The only constant is change
With the advent of technology, we’ve become quite used to types of jobs disappearing. In fact, most of us never met a telegraph operator or a typewriter machinist. Similarly, we’ve become quite accustomed to new jobs being created, and there are thousands of people who work as an Uber Driver or a Data Scientist.
What societies most struggle with, when it comes to understanding changing workforces, is the velocity and impact of changes – even if we know intuitively that workforces adapt over time.
Prepare for hyperspeed
As a result of AI and increased automation, we’re about to enter the most profound period of disruption that has ever occurred in the workforce. Its impact is analogous to the Industrial Revolution. Unlike the Industrial Revolution, which spread incrementally from the United Kingdom across the world, this change will simultaneously arrive in every workplace globally, at a much greater speed.
It is perhaps the greatest challenge over the coming decades other than climate change.
The impending skills gap
There is no shortage of research studies or white papers on the topic of Future of Work. Deloitte’s gloomiest prediction is that up to 47% of US jobs face potential automation over the next 20 years. There are also more rosy assessments, such as from Mckinsey, that by 2030 over 200 million people globally will be working in brand new occupations.
We believe that both scenarios may be true. Many jobs will disappear, and many jobs will be created. The challenge that this creates is what is broadly referred to by organisations as the Skills Gap: the mismatch between the skills employers are looking for and the skills that their employees currently possess.
Organisations worldwide are well aware of the challenge, already spending hundreds of billions of dollars in order to retain and reskill their employees. However, most organisations are struggling to achieve their objectives, using unsophisticated hiring processes that lack mechanisms for internal job rotation. In fact, the number of companies worldwide that express difficulty in finding people with the right skills has doubled during the last decade.
As things stand today, without a significant breakthrough, there is a huge probability that there will be millions of newly unemployed people each year, while many new jobs will be left empty. retrain.ai have taken on the difficult task of solving this societal challenge and we couldn’t be more excited to be partnering with them, alongside other great investors including Hetz Ventures, .406 Ventures and TechAviv.
retrain.ai’s founding team is an exceptional combination of complementary individuals bringing outstanding expertise in their fields, building top tier companies and developing the most innovative technologies. Their strong pedigree of excellence and their passion for solving this problem makes them uniquely positioned to tackle such a challenge and made us excited to embark on this journey with them.
retrain.ai’s Founding Team
- Dr Shay David (CEO) is a seasoned entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of the leading video platform Kaltura, where he served in various roles, including CTO and CRO. Before Kaltura, Shay was a co-founder of Destinator Technologies, a leader in mobile GPS navigation software, and consulted to several Fortune 500 companies.
- Avi Simon (CTO) had an exceptional career in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), where he retired as a Colonel. During his last role, Avi was the IDF’s Chief Data Officer, where he oversaw the IDF’s R&D in software, data and AI. Before that, Avi was the CIO and CTO of the Israeli intelligence corps, where he led and executed strategic digital transformation initiatives.
- Isabelle Bichler-Eliasaf (COO) brings strong expertise in the fields of HRTech, Finance and Operations. After previously co-founding an HR startup, leading it to a successful acquisition, Isabelle served as a private wealth management executive, overseeing investments in technology companies.
The retrain.ai product
retrain.ai aspires to become the platform that connects people whose jobs will disappear with the new jobs that will be created. This process is much more than just matching jobseekers and employers. It is about identifying which jobs will disappear and which will be created, identifying which skills and attributes lend themselves to specific newly created jobs, and it is about providing a pathway from an old job to a new job. retrain.ai is building an ongoing, scalable mechanism to address the skills gap.
The Israeli Department of Labor
In addition to securing substantial funding, retrain.ai was selected by the Israeli Department of Labor and JDC-Tevet, Israel's leading social R&D organization, to spearhead a national data project as part of accelerating the recovery of the economic downturn due to the pandemic and apply next-generation technologies to map at and help integrate millions of people into the changing world of work, effectively flattening the unemployment curve.
The future of work is better thought of as our present.
Just a quick look around us indicates that the labour market is constantly evolving. Tens of millions of people are working in jobs that didn’t exist a decade ago: app developers, drone engineers, social media managers. Gig economy platforms such as Fiverr or Airbnb are fundamentally changing the way we consume and deliver services. The automated cashiers we meet at our local supermarket or train station are only the tip of the iceberg in the vast automation journey happening all around us.
Covid-19 has also accelerated these trends, as well as our openness to a transformation of the workforce.
As technology evolves, changes are happening at a more rapid pace. Companies and governments have positioned the future of work as a challenge of critical importance. We don’t know how the labour market will look like in a decade from now, but we require solutions such as retrain.ai to ensure people can have secure and rewarding careers and companies can achieve their objectives.
We are thrilled to be partnering with Shay, Isabelle and Avi on their important journey. If you are keen to learn more, get in touch with retrain.ai here.