Tony Blair’s son Euan Blair raises $130M for Multiverse, UK’s edtech nearing unicorn status
Tech apprenticeship startup co-founded by the oldest son of former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Multiverse is nearing the billion-dollar ‘unicorn’ status after having closed a $130-million funding round to allow it to meet the growing demand for professional apprenticeships in both the UK and the US.
The Series C round was led by D1 Capital Partners and BOND and brings total funding for the tech startup to $194 million. The apprenticeship provider has experienced exponential growth since closing the UK’s largest ever edtech funding round this past January, a $44 million Series B led by General Catalyst, which was used to expand into the US. This latest funding round valued the company at around $875 million, more than four times the startup’s estimated valuation in January this year.
Hassle-free professional apprenticeships
Founded in 2016 in London and previously known as WhiteHat, the education technology company matches talent who have not graduated from college with apprenticeship opportunities at companies. It trains apprentices at more than 300 companies including Facebook, Morgan Stanley and the NHS.
The startup also opened a US headquarters in New York City earlier in January. Within six months of launch in the US, it has begun training professional apprentices with organisations including Google, ClassPass and Adyen.
The additional funding will be used to drive growth in both the UK and the US, including by launching additional programmes and qualifications. This year Multiverse launched an innovative programme to enable apprentices to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Data Analytics and Data Science alongside their roles.
Alternative to university and corporate training
Euan Blair, founder and CEO, Multiverse said: “We have spent the last few years building a truly outstanding alternative to university and to corporate training, and this latest funding round is recognition of how far this cause has come. Professional apprenticeships are transforming the opportunities available to people in the UK and now in the US – we’ve seen a range of the world’s best employers grow their programmes significantly over the last year.”
The company has seen its revenue grow nearly 4x over the last year and now trains over 5,000 tech, leadership and digital apprentices, more than the annual undergraduate intake of both Harvard and Oxford University.
Most recently, the startup was awarded the top grade in its first inspection by the UK education regulator, Ofsted. The inspectors noted in their verdict: “From apprentices’ first interaction with staff at Multiverse, they are welcomed into a kind and inclusive environment. Apprentices are inspired to have high aspirations by exceptional coaches who are experts in their field.”
Employers are all asking a similar question: how do we access the best talent and the skills we need, and make sure the opportunities created in the post-COVID recovery are spread more equitably? Talent is everywhere but companies will only hire the best if they reach beyond traditional sources, Blair added.
Look beyond academic achievements
“Our apprenticeships allow employers to look beyond academic achievements and hire and develop people based on the things that really matter: potential, character and performance. They are simply the best way to equip people with the skills employers need today.”
Ken Chenault, chairman and managing director of General Catalyst said: “Apprenticeships are an innovative pathway to family sustaining jobs. Multiverse has the team, the model, and the vision to make the promise of professional, modern apprenticeships a reality while creating greater access to opportunity.”
Personal training from expert coaches
Multiverse apprentices benefit from a unique applied learning model, receiving personal training from expert coaches alongside paid jobs. The company has prioritised a community experience designed to replicate the best of university that includes socials, mentoring, leadership opportunities, and inspiring speakers.
As a result of extensive outreach partnerships and a bespoke matching platform, 53% of apprentices placed in their roles by the platform are people of colour and 36% are from under-resourced communities. 90% remain in long-term employment with their companies.
Delivering digital strategies
Professional apprenticeships allow organisations to open up attractive, equitable routes into a range of tech and professional careers including Data Analytics, Software Engineering, Project Management and Business Administration. Digital skills are a key brake on global productivity, with 84% of executives believing their teams lack the ability to deliver their digital strategies. At the same time workplace equity has become a critical conversation across corporate boardrooms.
Jeremy Duggan, President andBoard member at Multiverse said: “Multiverse isn’t just growing fast, we’re delivering record-breaking impact at scale with the support of the world’s most trusted investors. Through the testing times of Covid our team has grown, developed and increased its impact multiple times. Our special mission ensures that we’re solving some of the most important issues facing society: bridging the opportunity gap and ensuring companies can access the most diverse, talented individuals to drive their growth.”