Behind the Deal

Denver’s PAIRIN Raises $2.1 Million in Series A Round with Help from KO

Koenig Oelsner Taylor Schoenfeld & Gaddis advised Denver-based PAIRIN in a Series-A round completed in May that raised over $2 million.


The company describes itself as a social enterprise whose mission is to “make education relevant and hiring equitable.” 

Its signature product is an online platform called My Journey that integrates skills and career coaching with state services, such as unemployment benefits, and is used by governments, workforce programs and educational institutions. 

The bulk of negotiating was done in April, when unemployment surged to nearly 15% and VC deals dropped sharply. While the future looked bleak for many companies, My Journey “dramatically increased its roll-out” in recent months, according to a PAIRIN news release, as workforce networks and state governments adopted the platform.

“With all the changes to employment … their business actually started picking up, and so I think there was an advantage to the company slightly that allowed us to pick this deal up and get it closed during the pandemic,” said KO attorney Ryan Sykora. 

PAIRIN plans to use the $2.1 million to increase hiring by 33% in engineering, design, project management and other roles in the next year, according to the company news release, and it expects to double its workforce and be cashflow positive by the end of 2021. 

“It is nice to see companies that are having success and that plan on growing and hiring, even with some of the uncertainty going on in the general economy,” said KO partner John Gaddis. 

KO has been working with PAIRIN since 2016, and the firm has handled corporate governance and corporate maintenance matters for the company as well as a series of note financing that, Sykora said, “gave them enough runway to get to the point where they could do the Series A.”

“It’s rewarding to see clients we have long-term relationships with continue to grow and have access to capital that will allow them to scale the company,” Gaddis said. 

The Series A round was led by New Markets Venture Partners, an existing investor, with  New U Venture Partners, JFFLabs, and return investors Village Capital and Voqal also participating. The familiarity between the company and several of the investors helped make  the transaction smooth, Sykora said.

According to Gaddis, deals activity in Q2 had a bit of a slow start, but is now holding steady. “In March and April, almost no one was starting new M&A transactions and not many people were starting venture transactions,” he said. But as the stock market came back, “so did acquirers,” “From my standpoint, the takeaway is that VCs do have capital and are deploying capital,” Gaddis said. “And while maybe valuations have adjusted downward slightly, the pace of financing feels relatively unchanged.”

— Jessica Folker

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