NEW YORK — FutureFit AI, the AI-powered career navigation platform, today announced that it closed on a funding round of $4.5M in late 2021, which will fuel product innovation and growth as the company meets the demand for career navigation and reskilling that has skyrocketed in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The investment was co-led by JPMorgan Chase and Acumen America and is the company’s first financing round. FutureFit AI is the market leader as the ‘navigation layer’ of workforce development seamlessly connecting multiple stakeholders and solutions in one comprehensive user journey.
“To support a more equitable economic recovery, we need to find ways to connect overlooked talent with career opportunity at a time when the needs of employers and the labor market are changing faster than ever,” said Hamoon Ekhtiari, CEO of FutureFit AI.
Ekhtiari immigrated to North America two decades ago when he didn’t know any English and directly experienced the challenges of navigating the labor market. “Not only did I experience my own struggles in a country where the career paths were foreign to me, I experienced the very real pain of watching my parents who were skilled professionals have to change their names on their resume just to get a callback and even take credentials off their resume so they would be considered for entry level jobs. The opportunity to build a systemic solution to support people regardless of their background and empower them to reach their full potential in the economy is something that is very viscerally important to me, and has influenced our core mission and values at FutureFit AI.”
As the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the number of unfilled job openings in the US is nearing a record high at more than 11 million. At the same time, the economic fallout of the pandemic has exposed longstanding equity gaps in the workforce, with individuals from underserved and under-resourced communities significantly more likely to be unemployed two years after the pandemic began. Against that backdrop, employers and workforce development organizations are increasingly turning to technology solutions to address this shortage of skilled talent and growing equity gaps.
FutureFit AI partners with Fortune 500 companies, governments, and workforce development organizations (including a flagship partnership with the National Association of Workforce Boards) to provide workers with a “GPS for your Career”. The platform uses advanced labor market data and ethical machine learning algorithms to identify an individual’s ‘starting point’ in the labor market, recommend best fit career path ‘destinations’, and build a personalized roadmap of learning, resources, and work opportunities to successfully guide them from point A to point B. FutureFit AI’s platform is differentiated by the strength of its data and algorithms, its focus on the individual worker through an equity lens, and its ability to integrate with other critical workforce partners to create comprehensive, end-to-end workforce solutions.
In addition to JPMorgan Chase and Acumen America, FutureFit AI’s oversubscribed round was joined by Juvo Ventures, Sorenson Impact Foundation, Emerge Education, Techstars, and Plug & Play Ventures. A number of prominent angel investors, including Fortune 500 HR executives and workforce development professionals also participated in the round.
JPMorgan Chase is focused on creating economic mobility and career pathways for underserved populations, and in 2019, made a $350 million, 5-year global investment to develop, test and scale innovative efforts that prepare individuals with the skills they need to be successful in a rapidly changing economy.
“Building a skilled workforce and ensuring that everyone, regardless of background, has access to the skills, supports, and credentials they need for in-demand jobs is critical to a more equitable future,” said Jennie Sparandara, Head of Programs, Global Philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase. “Preparing workers and businesses alike for the future of work is a collective effort, and tools like FutureFit AI that help people assess their current skills, develop new ones, and pursue better opportunities, are needed now more than ever.”
Carlyle Singer, the President of Acumen, will join FutureFit AI’s board. “As Acumen America has invested in the workforce sector over the last 7 years, we have witnessed the enduring gap in career navigation infrastructure to support low-income workers. We are excited by the opportunity to partner with FutureFit AI on what we believe can be a transformative new tool to support workers’ career journeys, while positioning employers to tackle their labor challenges and build resilient workforces for the future,” said Singer.
“The fundamental realization in the workforce sector has been that if we truly want to create outcomes for workers, we need to have deep collaboration between stakeholders, whether it be learning providers, assessment tools, local workforce organizations, or employers. And what has resonated most deeply with our partners is that FutureFit AI has a unique ability to fuel these innovative partnerships by being the connective tissue between stakeholders that maximizes outcomes and creates transformative change in the workforce,” said Taylor Stockton, FutureFit AI’s Chief Operating Officer.
About FutureFit AI:
FutureFit AI partners with Fortune 500 companies, governments, and workforce development organizations to provide workers with an AI-powered tool to help them navigate their careers. FutureFit AI uses over 350 million global talent profiles, live labor market information and projections, and proprietary machine learning algorithms to identify an individual’s skills, recommend possible career paths, and create a personalized roadmap of learning, support resources, and coaching to drive successful outcomes.