Multiverse, the tech startup that seeks to provide an alternative to university training has announced today to have closed a $220M Series D funding round at a post-money valuation of $1.7B, doubling its valuation from eight months ago. Based in London, the new edtech unicorn offers apprenticeships to a diverse pool of young adults and individuals looking to reskill.
The funding will enable the startup to accelerate its US expansion while broadening the range of learning programs which will create more routes to career progression for apprentices. Founders Circle Capital and existing backers Audacious Ventures, BOND, D1 Capital Partners, GV and Index Ventures also participated in the round, bringing Multiverse’s total funding to over $400M.
Apprenticeships as opposed to college degrees
“Mandating college degrees and making admissions officers the gatekeepers for great careers, means leaving out thousands of talented individuals,” explained Multiverse’s co-founder & CEO Euan Blair. This statement is true and has been observed to disproportionately affect minority communities. In the US, two-thirds of Americans lack a college degree despite 65% of jobs requiring a college or bachelor’s degree.
Companies around the globe are currently facing the challenge of hiring and retaining talent, especially in the tech sector. Competition for talent between organisations is heating up, with several companies experiencing talent droughts in several positions. Euan Blair emphasises this, adding, “There has never been a more pressing time to create an alternative to university education that is equitable and inclusive.”
Multiverse’s solution is to influence talent development through apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are providing an alternative path to training and hiring workers, opening access to tech careers and teaching skills to workers for the modern, digital economy jobs. Multiverse apprenticeships avail tuition-free paid programs in areas including Software Engineering, Data Analytics & Digital Marketing.
The programmes typically last 12-15 months and provide a unique combination of on-the-job training and education alongside professional apprenticeships. These have assisted individuals to jump-start their careers or enter entirely new fields while earning competitive salaries.
Companies are increasingly introducing apprenticeship programs with the aim of addressing the challenges associated with the short supply of digital skills. This has in turn created more opportunities for those without degrees and has led to an increase in employee productivity and engagement, with higher retention rates and lower hiring costs. For this reason, 60% of Multiverse partners have expanded within 6 months of launching an apprenticeship program. Additionally, 68% of all Multiverse apprentices have been promoted during or at the end of their programs with over 90% remaining with their employers post-apprenticeship.
The edtech’s impact, past & future highlights
Since its founding in 2016 in the UK by Euan Blair, the son of former British prime minister Tony Blair alongside Sophie Adelman, Multiverse launched in the US later in 2021 and now oversees a community of over 8,000 apprentices globally. Of the professional apprentices placed worldwide byMultiverse, 56% are people of colour, more than half are women and 34% are from economically under-served communities.
Youngme Moon & Donald K David, a Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, will join Multiverse’s Board of Directors. Professor Moon adds decades of experience to her role at Multiverse and serves on the boards of top businesses including Mastercard, Unilever, Warby Parker and Sweetgreen.
Multiverse has hit nine growth milestones in just two years. The edtech is currently training professional apprentices with over 500 organisations globally including Cisco, Verizon & Visa in the US, just to mention a few. Programs like Software Engineering have seen a 260% growth in enrollment YoY, bragging a completion rate of over 85%. Multiverse has also made particular headwinds in the Financial Services industry, growing its partner count by 105% over the past year.