Investing in opportunities for underrepresented communities: Virtual Gurus

Fund Updates · Mar 15, 2022

At the Pollinator Fund, we believe the future of work is dynamic. The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital and remote work by an estimated seven years, expanding opportunities for employers and employees. It has also exacerbated pre-existing socio-economic disparities, especially for racialized people and women, who form a larger population of frontline and care workers and lack of access to stable, well-paying digital and remote work opportunities.

However, as the digitization of work grows, it is beginning to change not only who gets hired and has access to digital opportunities, but also how work gets done. Increasingly, businesses are embracing operational flexibility and delegating functions from bookkeeping to administration to marketing. This fragmentation of work, combined with a broader range of eligible remote workers, has created the perfect storm for Virtual Gurus, a Calgary-based Talent-as-a-Service platform. 

Since 2016, Founder and CEO, Bobbie Racette has led the company to connect organizations to a flexible workforce, providing employers with access to a new and diverse employee pool. The company’s north star focuses on supporting individuals as ‘virtual assistants’ who may have traditionally faced barriers to employment, including First Nation, Métis and Inuit peoples, members of LGBTQ2S+ communities, stay-at-home or single parents, people of alternate abilities, and those living in remote communities.

By providing individuals from all backgrounds with access to long term career opportunities in the digital economy at a fair, living wage, Virtual Gurus is helping alleviate one of the biggest challenges in our society today. Virtual assistants also have the opportunity to intensify and expand their skills through the Virtual Gurus Academy, a tailored learning platform, or from their peers via community forums, thanks to the company’s deep focus on community, learning, and growth.

Virtual Gurus’ people-first approach is what sets it apart from other talent matching platforms and what aligns the organization so well with the Pollinator Fund’s investment thesis of enabling inclusive communities through quality jobs and income, supporting work readiness, and better care outcomes for underrepresented populations. Virtual Gurus is riding the zeitgeist of digital work and proving that you can do good business by doing good in communities - a value at the heart of TELUS.

And this is only the beginning. The Series A financing, led by the Pollinator Fund, is an opportunity for Virtual Gurus to scale its impact across North America as the trusted source of flexible talent. We’re excited to support Bobbie and her team in their next phase of growth to empower individuals from underrepresented communities by providing them with a resilient career at a fair, living wage.

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