Multiverse, the apprenticeship startup founded by Euan Blair, son of former British prime minister Tony Blair, has become the UK’s first edtech unicorn after its latest funding round gave it a $1.7bn (£1.36bn) valuation.
London-based Multiverse said it will use the proceeds of its $220m (£175.9m) Series D round to “accelerate” its US expansion, where it already has a headquarters in New York.
Founded in 2016 and previously known as WhiteHat, Multiverse matches young people without degrees with salaried apprenticeship opportunities.
The company says it has trained over 8,000 apprentices through partnerships with 500 companies. It focuses on “skills of the future”, such as data science and software engineering.
“Mandating degrees, and making admissions officers the gatekeepers for great careers, means leaving out thousands of talented individuals,” said Euan Blair, CEO and founder of Multiverse.
“There has never been a more pressing time to create an alternative to university education that is equitable and inclusive and there is an incredible opportunity before us to change the status quo with apprenticeships.”
The $1.7bn post-money valuation gives Blair a paper fortune in the hundreds of millions.
Multiverse’s latest round was co-led by StepStone Group, and previous backers Lightspeed Venture Partners and General Catalyst.
In January 2021, Multiverse’s £32m Series B round became the largest UK edtech raise.
Its latest capital boost brings Multiverse’s total funding to date to over $400m.
“Apprenticeships can help thousands of companies better train workers for the jobs needed to thrive in the age of digital transformation,“ said Hunter Somerville, partner at StepStone Group. “Multiverse has a demonstrated track record of success, building an unparalleled global platform to find, train and develop talent.”
Multiverse joins unicorn club
When Multiverse raised $130m in its previous round the company was nearing the billion-dollar unicorn milestone.
It also demonstrates the growing strength of the edtech sector, coming one year after Vienna-based GoStudent became Europe’s first edtech unicorn.
It follows a strong 2021 for UK tech valuations, with British firms making up 38% of the combined valuation of European unicorns – the highest percentage across the continent.