UpSmith Announces $3.3M Pre-Seed Raise in its Mission to Address Skilled Labor Crisis
Today, UpSmith, Inc., the Dallas-based startup reimagining the future of skilled labor, announced investments from a16z and Asymmetric Capital Partners as a part of the company’s $3.3 million pre-seed raise closed earlier this year. Other participating investors include GSV Ventures, Accel, and strategic angels including former Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, Thumbtack co-founder Sander Daniels, and other leaders across global technology, manufacturing, and construction sectors.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers reported over 1.2 million openings in U.S. manufacturing and construction in August 2022. These shortages create major risks for expanding the American economy, producing new goods, and building critical infrastructure for the future. Employers rely heavily on skilled laborers who have been in the workforce for decades, and the system is not producing new workers fast enough to replace them or keep up with growing demand: 27% of U.S. construction talent is within ten years of Social Security eligibility, and even if every qualified manufacturing worker in America found a job, 35% of open roles in durable goods production would still be unfilled.
Also today, UpSmith released a blog post on its mission and shared a vision video unveiling its technology platform—UpSmith.com—to serve employers seeking to identify, qualify, staff, and retain skilled professionals in advanced manufacturing, construction, and home services sectors. Where necessary, employers leverage UpSmith’s partnerships to offer paid 8-week training accelerators for new talent, unlocking skills and credentials they need to accelerate high purpose, high pay careers in skilled professions.
Unlike traditional models, new hires identified through UpSmith earn $20+/hour with no prior experience required, even during training. Paid training is potentially life-changing to someone who cannot afford to pay for training out-of-pocket or bear the risks of lost wages, mounting student debt, or uncertain employment prospects that often come with enrollment in traditional job training programs.
“We’re on an important mission to address the skilled labor crisis,” said UpSmith Founder & CEO, Wyatt Smith. ”Employers need talent to fill critical roles as they invest in advanced manufacturing, construction, home services industries. To serve them and meet growing demand, we must expand skilled worker talent pools – that’s where UpSmith’s technology platform comes into play.”
UpSmith is already seeing promising signals from pilots in Tennessee and Texas, showing their model has potential to unlock meaningful work opportunities at scale. The company plans to grow into more categories and markets in the coming months.
“We believe that mission-driven and civic-minded founders often build companies that transcend traditional business models and can solve important problems impacting our country,” said Katherine Boyle, General Partner and leader of a16z’s American Dynamism Fund. “Innovative companies like UpSmith see government and educational institutions as the customer, competitor and key stakeholder. By collaborating within existing systems, and breaking the status quo to create even better ones, UpSmith’s technology has the potential to help millions of people across America and around the world —that’s a mission we’re proud to get behind.”
“As the digital world rapidly evolves around us, we can’t lose sight of untapped opportunity in the industries that fuel America’s economy,” said Rob Biederman, Managing Partner at Asymmetric Capital Partners. “Manufacturing, aviation, automotive, and other skilled-labor employers are at an inflection point: pay to train the talent necessary to power jobs of the future, or risk employing no one at all. UpSmith creates a better way for employers to empower skilled laborers with meaningful work while driving bottom-line growth. UpSmith is a win for employers and workers alike.”
Employers interested in partnering for skilled talent should visit UpSmith.com/employers to learn more.
UpSmith’s mission is to address the skilled worker shortage by creating high-purpose, high-pay, high-dignity career opportunities for talent. The company leverages its technology platform to solve employers’ needs by identifying, qualifying, and vetting high-potential candidates. Where necessary, UpSmith facilitates sponsored, accelerated, foundational training to credential talent for entry-level roles in skilled professions. UpSmith’s initial focus is addressing the 1.2 million unfilled skilled construction and manufacturing jobs in the U.S. This shortage is poised to triple to over 4 million openings by 2030 at an opportunity cost of more than $1 trillion. Globally the problem is even greater, with an 85 million skilled worker shortfall across industries poised to cost $8.5 trillion by 2030. For media inquiries, contact email@example.com. Media kit available here.