It's a match: Galena nabs $16.7 million round to connect young Brazilians to job openings
Guilherme Luz and Eduardo Mufarej, Galena's co-founders. Photo: Courtesy

It's a match: Galena nabs $16.7 million to train and connect young Brazilians to job openings

Startup has built a solution to tackle the mismatch between basic education and the labor market; Silicon Valley fund Altos Ventures liked the idea

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The gap between young Brazilians who have just graduated from high school and the formal labor market is getting bigger and bigger – the most recent data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics show that the unemployment rate among young people aged 18 to 24 has reached 29.8%. It was to tackle this problem that the startup Galena was born. With less than two years and only two classes trained, the edtech thesis attracted Altos Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture capital fund, which led a $16.7 million (almost R$80 million) funding round in Galena.

Series A round was followed by Exor N.V‘s ventures arm, Owl Ventures, Reaction, and Globo Ventures, in addition to individual investors such as David Velez, Kevin Efrusy, Dan Rosensweig, Armínio Fraga, Romero Rodrigues, and André Street. 

Galena was founded in 2020 by Guilherme Luz and Eduardo Mufarej, two entrepreneurs with a large experience in education: Luz worked at Nova Escola, a Lemann Foundation entity aimed at training public school teachers, and Mufarej founded Renova BR, a school for preparing political leaders. Before that, the duo worked at Somos Educação, a company focused on developing educational solutions for Brazilian schools.

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In an interview with LABS, Luz told that it was in this foray into the third sector that he and Mufarej found the problem they wanted to address: the mismatch between basic education and the labor market.

The young people who graduate from public high school have a huge challenge to enter the labor market. Brazilian schools still fail to prepare for work. That’s when we realized the opportunity: to create a solution that helps these young people to get a good job and, from there, build their careers. Galena wants to help young Brazilians to avoid informality, underemployment, or unemployment.

Guilherme Luz, Galena’s co-founder and CEO

This is Galena’s second fundraising; in March 2021, the startup secured $7.3 million in a Seed round. Series A will be invested in product and technology development and team expansion. The goal for 2022 is to scale up its first learning track and enhance the business model to, starting next year, include new training in the program. In the medium term, the goal is to reach the mark of 50,000 young people entered in the labor market in five years.

Learning track and company match

Galena has designed a training program in Sales and Customer Success aimed at young people between 18 and 24 years old who have graduated from public high school.

Luz said that before setting up the curriculum for the program, the cofounders talked to almost 40 companies to understand which areas had the most opportunities and what skills were needed. “We identified two hottest areas, Technology, and Sales and Customer Success, which offer the most openings. We chose to start with this learning track and created the program curriculum from the concrete need of the hiring companies, covering technical and behavioral skills.”

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Galena’s training lasts four months and the program is demanding: 8 hours a day of activities. The program simulates the work environment that the young people will find later so that they understand how the sales area works, the business concepts, the tools, and the dynamics common to these companies.

End of the program, match time.

“At the end of the program, we do the matching process. Galena’s technology evaluates and suggests the best candidates for the companies. The system identifies who is the ideal candidate for each position, based on data matching between the candidate, the position, and the company’s culture,” explained Luz.

Through partnerships with 18 companies – such as iFood, QuintoAndar, Cora, Unilever, Stone, Nubank, Alelo, XP, Arco, Dell, PetLove, among others – Galena is able to get young people into the job market in a formal position, with an average salary of BRL 2,300, benefits and career plan. According to Luz, all the students who trained in the first group got jobs and 45% of the second group are already working (the deadline for entering the job market via startup is three months).

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According to Galena’s business model, instead of paying for the training normally, students only pay for it when they are employed; if at the end of the three-month period they have not found a job, they do not have to pay. The final cost of the training ranges from BRL 3,500 to BRL 6,000. The startup also gets a fee per hire made by partner companies.

Galena’s payment model and high assertiveness rate have made the startup‘s selection process very competitive. Since it was founded, edtech has received more than 21,000 applications.

“We want to change the way young people from the public school system prepare for and enter the job market. We have a different, more assertive model that matches talent and opportunities,” said Mufarej.