Viridis Learning: An education technology startup focused on the middle-skill workforce

Posted Feb 4, 2014

Viridis Learning is an education technology company that focuses on the middle-skill workforce that was co-founded by Felix Ortiz and Martin Scaglione. Viridis Learning offers online courses that teaches people skills that are needed for entering the middle-skill workforce and matches users to available jobs after the courses have been completed. Viridis has courses that focus on construction, hospitality, apparel manufacturing, etc.

Viridis’ goal is to enhance the quality of life through employability and retention of 60% of the U.S. workforce and 80% of the global workforce.  Viridis uses sophisticated algorithms to help position the middle skilled workforce to maximize their chances of success.  The company is aiming to become the world’s largest platform enabling middle skilled employees to be trained, certified, and matched to employers that best suit them.

Viridis captures unique data on their users to match job seekers to employers by industry sector, location, and skill. Some of the early adopters in Viridis include YouthBuild USA, STRIVE, City University of New York.  The average completion rate is 93%. Placement rates are at about 70% and retention rate is 65% among these organizations. The courses take around 18-40 hours to complete and each course is about $250. Personality tests are also used for assessing employment options.

Ortiz told me that he was fascinated by technology and science ever since he was a kid. When he was 17, he decided to enter the military and served 2 years of active duty in North Carolina. The general told him that he had a lot of great ideas and encouraged him to pursue an entrepreneurial path.

This is when Ortiz entered the ROTC and started to attend St. Johns University. He created his first company at the age of 20, which was a platform for trading humanitarian products. Ortiz went on to join the national finance committee and became the youngest member there. He also worked on President Obama’s advisory group and transition team. Eventually he decided that he did not want to join politics to focus on technology.

“I wanted to create technology that would affect the hardest hit and is the most hit,” said Felix in the interview with Pulse 2.0.

Ortiz said that his parents migrated to Brooklyn when he was a kid. He lived in an apartment with 7 people, which taught him a lot about values. He became very fascinated with helping people and became interested in education. He also learned that there was no platform that gave an end-to-end solution to middle skilled workers and serves as a talent acquisition endpoint for employees. There is still no one except Viridis that is doing this.

Viridis on-boards students through community colleges and sources employers through trade associations and community based organizations. What makes the service unique is that technology is decimated from the grassroots upwards. When Viridis was in private beta, they tried it with around 2,500 users and saw a success rate of around 93% completion. Some of the companies that work with Viridis include Comcast, the Home Builders Institute, and the National Restaurant Association.

Viridis is continuously adding new courses. Currently the company is focused on 10 industry clusters including construction, hospitality, manufacturing, restaurants, aerospace, customer service, sales, and call centers.