The startup aims to offer “an outstanding alternative to university and corporate training that would allow a much more diverse group of people to succeed, and access the very best careers,” Blair, who serves as Multiverse’s CEO, tells UNLEASH.
He believes that apprenticeships can “make sure opportunities in the post-COVID-19 recovery are spread more equitably”.
Multiverse’s business model links up digital, tech and professional services organizations with apprentices in the UK and US; Multiverse also provides one-to-one coaching to its apprentices.
“It’s free to individuals, who get paid while they work and join a thriving social and professional communities”, explains Blair. “Our clients see incredible returns from building their own tech talent pipelines, and the benefits we know more diverse teams can bring.”
Now Multiverse has closed a $130 million Series C round only nine months after raising $44 million in a Series B. It was the Series B funding that enabled Multiverse to expand into the US in early 2021.
The Series C funding brings Multiverse’s total funding to $194 million, and the round was led by D1 Capital Partners and BOND.
The round follows Multiverse quadrupling its revenue growth in the past year to allow it to double the number of apprentices it trains to 5,000. 53% of them are people of color, 36% come from under-resourced communities and 90% remain in long-term employment with placement companies.
Multiverse works with 300 clients in the UK, plus many more in the US. Examples of customers include Google, Morgan Stanley, Facebook, Kantar and the NHS.
Apprenticeships: A solution to skills gaps?
Blair is very clear that apprenticeships will be crucial to helping employers tap into top-quality talent with the right skills.
This is important given that companies are increasingly struggling to fill open positions and with skills gaps, particularly in the ongoing ‘Great Resignation’.
This may be because they are being too single-minded about only taking workers with university degrees.
But Blair tells UNEASH “a university degree has become a stamp in the passport for young people seeking access to the best careers. But, more often than not, the education they’re getting at university isn’t relevant to the jobs they’re going for”.
Ultimately, “university isn’t equipping people with those durable skills that the workplace demands,” notes Blair.
Whereas, according to Blair, “the advantage of apprenticeships is that they teach the skills that young people actually need, and that employer are crying out for. We work hand-in-hand with employers to develop programs that are suited to the needs of the modern business world”.
Blair is clear that apprenticeships can help more than just career starters. They can also help companies retain and nurture their talent, which is crucial in the ‘Great Resignation’.
“Apprenticeships are great [for] established professionals looking to develop their abilities or learn new skills,” explains Blair. “We need to get beyond the idea that education is a single shot at learning at the start of your career.”
He adds: “We’ve found that apprentices rate their employer more highly after completing an apprenticeship program, showing how important this investment into their learning and development is.”
The future for Multiverse
Multiverse, therefore, wants to use this funding to continue on its mission to provide an alternative to university and corporate training.
Multiverse is going to use the Series C funding to continue to drive growth in the US and the UK and to introduce more qualifications and training to its apprentices.
Talking about the round, D1 Capital Partners’ Jeremy Goldstein noted: “We believe Multiverse is expanding access to wage-growth and social mobility for employees from a broad range of backgrounds while creating substantial value for employers.
“We are excited to invest and help Multiverse scale its model globally.”
Ken Chenault, chairman and managing director of General Catalyst, which led January’s Series B, added: “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.”
Ultimately, it is clear that Tony Blair’s passion for education during his tenure as prime minister rubbed off on his son, even if they disagree about how central a role university should play in skilling future generations.
Watch this space: Euan Blair, Multiverse and apprenticeships have a bright future.