Salesforce Ventures Invests in Viridis to Connect Students, Community...


Salesforce Ventures Invests in Viridis to Connect Students, Community Colleges and Jobs

By Tony Wan     Jun 2, 2017

Salesforce Ventures Invests in Viridis to Connect Students, Community Colleges and Jobs

If students are truly “customers,” as some developers of higher-ed tools services have argued, then it’s no surprise that the biggest customer relationship management (CRM) provider is throwing its hat—and money—into the education industry.

Salesforce Ventures, the investment arm of the customer relationship management software provider, has invested an undisclosed sum in Viridis Learning. To date, Viridis has raised nearly $7.5 million of venture capital (the last coming in a $3.2 million A round in 2016.)

Founded in 2009, Viridis aims to connect the different points in the employment triangle between students, schools and employers. The company taps into local employer databases and government agencies to find job openings and identify the skills required for these roles. It shares this information with local community colleges, which can then tailor their course offerings to job opportunities, and share these pathways to employment on their websites. As students take classes on one of these pathways, their progress is kept in an online “Skills Passport” that is visible to the students, school and potential employers.

Key to making this system work, Viridis CEO Felix Ortiz tells EdSurge, is data interoperability that connects information stored across different education and employment systems. “We’re reverse-engineering the pathway to competency and jobs,” he says. The system ultimately aims to align the needs, expectation, and training required to help prepare community college students for jobs in their local communities.

Viridis claims users in 23 college districts, along with a network of 30,000 employers across the country including Comcast, Westin Hotel and—yes—Salesforce. (We’ve previously profiled how community colleges have adopted the platform.)

What the CRM provider brings to Viridis is much more than investment capital. Salesforce has quietly grown its footprint in higher education ever since releasing its Higher Education Data Architecture, which lets schools run a version of the CRM software configured specifically for higher-ed needs such as recruiting, fundraising and identifying at-risk students. This network and data is strategically valuable to Viridis as it looks to expand the use of its Skills Passport platform.

Viridis will also be integrated with Salesforce Trailhead, the company’s library of tutorials designed to help its corporate customers train their employees on using the CRM.

In an email, Ortiz wrote that this partnership will help Viridis create a better accountability system to “identify the proper pathway for each student, keep them on that path, enable them to automatically match to a good job based on their verified skills, and then report on the improved outcomes.”

Learn more about EdSurge operations, ethics and policies here. Learn more about EdSurge supporters here.

More from EdSurge

Get our email newsletterSign me up
Keep up to date with our email newsletterSign me up