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Interplay Raises $18M to Build a Lynda.com for Essential Skilled Trades – EdSurge

Toilets remain one of humankind’s most ingenious engineering feats. But while the most advanced bidets can wash themselves (along with other parts), they can’t fix themselves—yet.

Plumbing is just one of many good-paying skilled trades that remain in high demand but which have largely been glossed over by the education technology industry, says Doug Donovan, co-founder and CEO of Interplay Learning. “There’s been a lot of great edtech serving the knowledge worker, such as tools like Pluralsight. But there’s a vacuum in the digital marketplace for skills for hands-on workers.”

His company has set out to create a digital education platform similar to Lynda.com, but focused on hands-on trades. And the effort is attracting some of the most active education investors that are venturing into skilled labor for the first time.

Based in Austin, Interplay Learning has raised $18 million in a Series B funding round co-led by Owl Ventures and S3 Ventures. Other investors in this round include Strada Education Network, The Venture Reality Fund, SJF Ventures, Sierra Ventures, Holt Ventures, Wild Basin Investments and Shelter Capital Partners. Owl Ventures’ managing director, Ian Chiu will join Interplay’s board of directors.

The company dates back to 2010, when it developed computer-based training simulations and courses for vocational programs serving the energy industry. It has since expanded its catalog and changed its name to reflect the broader range of vocational trades it now serves, which include HVAC, plumbing, electrical and facility maintenance.

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