By Sarah Krasley
"Will I stay interested in this particular problem for 10 years?"
That's what you're supposed to ask yourself when starting a company. And as our company, Shimmy, turns five, I can say with full certainty that I'm even more excited by the challenge we've taken on than ever.
Making sure that the future of work is a good one for factory workers is compelling, motivating, and personal for me, and I'm sure it will keep us busy here at Shimmy for at least another decade.
As machines become smarter and more versatile, and automation and augmentation increase, the challenge of helping people reskill and upskill fast enough to keep up with the exponential growth of machine intelligence is harder than ever.
At Shimmy we dove right into that problem five years ago and we're still in there, making some excellent progress.
As we celebrate turning five, we've just upskilled our 533rd female garment worker — many of them from places like Bangladesh, and many of whom can't read or write well, or even at all. Women in the fashion supply chain face a particularly tough road in that world, especially given the fact that they don't have many female role models for running the complex machines that are becoming the norm in factories today.
As any founder will tell you, the days are long and each week has its own plot twists, but the rewards make it all worth it.
For example, as my team in Dhaka debriefs on user feedback collected during their day training factory workers with our AI-powered games, I wake up in New York City to messages like this one, from a worker we recently trained as part of a project with the H&M Foundation:
When Shimmy was born, it was just me and a vision of how we could help these workers — and now, five years later, I have the pleasure to share this challenge with 18 teammates — 75% of which are female, and 79% of which are people of color.
As we are in the middle of reshoring manufacturing jobs back to the Americas, we launched an app called Herald, which uses mobile games to get North American workers excited about sewn product manufacturing and circularity jobs, in anticipation of this wave of reshoring and closed-loop products.
We work hard, we have fun, and as we continue to scale, we’re hiring and would love to bring more talented big-hearted folks on this journey with us. On the financial front, Shimmy has grown to date with bootstrapped revenue and grants; and now I’m also proud to announce we’re leading into our very first equity round this fall to support some exciting product development, and to fuel our growth.
Launched a brand new Shimmy website!
Helping female Bangladeshi workers increase their skills and efficiency with Shimmy Upskill in H&M supplier factories.
Speaking at the Unity for Humanity Summit on October 12th about how we use games to elevate workers out of poverty.
This letter was sent to Shimmy's industry partners by Founder & CEO Sarah Krasley September 29, 2021. Shimmy Technologies is a SPESA member.
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