Interplay Learning – Why Sierra Ventures Invested

We are excited to announce our investment in Interplay Learning, where we participated in a $5.5M funding round.

Interplay develops online training for skilled laborers in the mechanical, electrical and industrial workforces. The highlight of their large catalog is state-of-the-art 3D troubleshooting simulations. These materials are accessible by desktop, laptop or VR-headset and provide an immersive learning experience for engagement and field-like experience.

We’re excited about this investment for several reasons:

  • The over 9 million US workers in the skilled trades industry are underserved and can benefit from Interplay’s courses.
  • Interplay’s unique simulation and VR content generation engine enables the company to quickly and efficiently generate large catalogs of training content which is meeting overwhelming demand from many skilled laborer industries.
  • Customers love the product, and now have an alternative to legacy solutions like classroom learning and powerpoint presentations. These new training options are especially critical for service companies that have a constant need to attract and properly train new technicians.
  • We love the vision that Doug Donovan, Interplay’s co-founder and CEO, has for the company along with the deep domain expertise he’s acquired through selling training courses to the skilled trades industry for the past 8 years.

We’re also thrilled to be investors due to our interest in the emerging Texas startup ecosystem.

As this recent Crunchbase article notes, with the influx of early-stage funds and expansion of tech giants such as Google, Apple, and Amazon in Austin, we’re seeing the right formula – capital and talent – to build some game-changing companies. We’ve enjoyed partnering on this deal with S3 Ventures, a Texas-focused firm, and look forward to having a “front row seat” in this important and growing market. We hope to invest in many other great companies in the state.

Ben started his career as a System Architect working on advanced networking and wireless technologies at 3Com. Ben joined Sierra Ventures in 2000 and focuses on Emerging Technologies. Some of Ben’s prior investments include AutheTec (IPO; M&A – Apple $365M) and Invensense (IPO; M&A – TDK $1.3B). Ben holds a BE from University of Western Australia and MA and PhD degrees from Princeton University in Electrical Engineering. When he’s not working you can usually find him on the golf course.

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