Introducing Pivotal Experiences

At Praxis Labs, our mission is to help make society more equitable. We’re targeting workforces because that’s where we are confident we’ll reach the most people and have the greatest impact at scale.

We believe that if we can help each and every employee become a conscious and inclusive leader, that will have a catalytic effect. Our vision is that these learners will not only transform their workplaces, but that their impact will permeate to the places you and I frequent every day.

How We Work.

Praxis Labs moves the needle for individuals and organizations by helping employees develop into conscious and inclusive leaders. Our learning platform: 

  • Leverages Virtual Reality to build empathy for the experiences of others: Through VR, we create immersive learning experiences with our flagship curriculum, Pivotal Experiences, that give employees the opportunity to experience someone else’s perspective, allowing them to take on different intersectional identities across race, gender, ability, sexual orientation, body size, religion, age and power in the organization. They either experience incidents of bias or discrimination firsthand, or from the perspective of someone complicit in an incident.
  • Provides opportunities for reflection and practice identifying barriers to equity: After each immersive experience, learners reflect on the incidents of bias they experienced on our platform and are taught the language context and definitions to identify these barriers in their own workplace.
  • Encourages employees to take action and make commitments to increase inclusion and equity in their own lives: Each experience on our platform leverages the virtual world to provide space for learners to practice intervening in the moment – either by self-advocating or by advocating on behalf of others. They can then apply this to real life, making commitments to practice research-backed behaviors and interventions in their actual workplace.

Through this process, we’re able to provide tangible, actionable insights – both to the learners and to the organizations they work for.

What Sets Us Apart. 

We’ve all seen articles and studies that say D&I trainings don’t work. So why do we think our learning experiences will be any different? Traditionally, the effectiveness of D&I training has been based on “how valuable” individuals thought it was on a scale of one to five. As a field, we weren’t applying the rigor of learning science to D&I education and we were failing to measure attitudes, mindsets, and behaviors, which made it nearly impossible to show that trainings were making a difference. 

At Praxis Labs, we’re changing the way companies measure D&I at both the learner and organization level with a laser focus on impact and efficacy. Through this approach, we’re able to measure a learners’ growth in empathy, their ability to identify barriers to equity, as well as the actions they take during and after the learning experience. We collect learners’ reflections on their workplace’s culture of equity and inclusion and aggregate that data to our clients, identifying hot spots before they become real problem areas. Together, we’re increasing empathy, reducing bias and creating sustained behavior change. 

Why we do it. 

For me – and for many folks like me from underrepresented backgrounds – D&I work is personal. My parents’ stories of overcoming systemic barriers to access high-quality education instilled in me at an early age the understanding that access and opportunity weren’t distributed equitably. It’s why I’ve been drawn to using technology as part of the solution – specifically focused on technology’s potential to help scale access and opportunity. My co-founder Heather’s family has similarly inspired her – as a daughter of immigrants, she grew up celebrating and working across cultural differences. 

The Praxis Labs team shares our mission and lives our values every day. We’re a diverse group by design, and we bring our lived experiences to bear to create lifelike simulations that will help lead to the outcomes we care so deeply about.

Join Us.

We’re grateful for our investors – SoftBank’s SB Opportunity Fund, Norwest Venture Partners, Ulu Ventures, Emerson Collective, Precursor Ventures and Firework VC – a diverse set of backers who invested in two women of color, believed in our vision and care deeply about the impact we will have together. 

We’re inspired by our clients – Google, Target, Amazon, eBay, and Uber – who have been with us since the beginning as we’ve tested and iterated on the learning experience and are continuing with us on this exciting journey with the goal of advancing equity, inclusion and belonging in their organizations. 

We’re humbled by our learners – Our clients’ employees – who have been brave, vulnerable, and open-minded. They’ve been willing to try new things to better themselves and their work cultures.

And we’re excited to meet you! We invite you to join us in making workplaces – and ultimately society – more equitable.

Elise Smith, Co-founder & CEO

Elise Smith, Co-founder & CEO

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