WhiteHat has raised a $4m Seed round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, a Silicon Valley-based investor.

The startup’s round also drew support from Village Global, ShopTalk and Money 20/20 founder Anil Aggarwal, and British tech entrepreneur Wendy Tan White.

Launched in 2016, WhiteHat is looking to challenge the preconceived idea that university is the only path that leads to successful careers.

In order to fulfill their mission, the company matches non-graduate talent with apprenticeships across a wide range of sectors – including tech, professional services, finance and retail.

WhiteHat is currently working with Google, Facebook, WeWork, Salesforce, Warner Bros and Burberry.

“We’re changing the way young people from all backgrounds are able to access the best careers and are partnering with Lightspeed to scale this global vision for the future of work,” said Euan Blair co-founder.

“Every developed economy is facing a skills shortage, compounded by universities not adapting to the changing nature of the labour market and, with dramatically rising university costs, students are increasingly looking for alternatives. Finally, nearly every major company in the tech, creative and professional services space is trying to figure out how to introduce more diversity into their organisations.”

“The solution needs to combine top-class applied learning, linked to specific roles, with a job at a great employer that doesn’t cost the user huge amounts of money – that’s what we’re providing at WhiteHat,” Blair added.

Sophie Adelman, the co-founder, also went on to note: “For the first time we’re presenting a compelling alternative to university both in terms of career prospects and earning potential via apprenticeships. As we look to the future of work, employers are understanding that applied learning is more useful than academic knowledge.”

“There’s an immediate opportunity in the UK for a better approach to apprenticeships, driven by the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in April 2017: every single employer with offices in the UK and a payroll of £3m a year or more, needs to spend 0.5% on apprenticeship training or forfeit the money as a tax. At WhiteHat we provide an effective way to deploy their levy funds by developing a diverse pipeline of talent who will become the future leaders in their organisations. This enables companies to future-proof their businesses with the skills they need and will increase retention and employee satisfaction over the long term.”

WhiteHat is Lightspeed Venture Partners’ second investment in the UK space. The fund has also backed the likes of TaskRabbit, Nest and AppDynamics.

Lightspeed partner Nakul Mandan will be joining WhiteHat’s board.

“WhiteHat are redefining how high school graduates can kickstart a great career and a lifelong education. At the same time, WhiteHat’s apprenticeship program enables companies to attract and engage with high quality talent at an early age, and that’s what the best of the best companies always try to do. It’s not surprising that in a short time, WhiteHat have been able to attract some of the world’s top companies as their customers. We’re very excited to partner with Euan and Sophie on this journey, and help them scale the business in the UK and beyond,” said Mandan.