We’ve been tracking a worrying trend of layoffs in the tech industry, but that’s not the full story. At the same time, there is a wave of organizations that are also engaged in training and hiring to fill a number of technology-related roles, particularly through apprenticeships. Today, a startup called Multiverse, which has built a platform to connect people to those opportunities — and to spread the word around the concept of apprenticeships in general — is announcing a major round of funding to expand its own business.
The company – founded in London and now co-headquartered in New York – has closed a $220 million series, with a retrospective valuation of $1.7 billion.
For those keeping track, that’s double Multiverse’s valuation compared to the $130 million Series C, which closed just eight months ago. StepStone Group (not to be confused with recruiting platform StepStone) and past backers Lightspeed Venture Partners and General Catalyst all led this round together, with Founders Circle Capital and past backers Audacious Ventures, BOND, D1 Capital Partners, GV and Index Ventures all also participating.
Euan Blair, the CEO and co-founder (who is the son of ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair and high-profile attorney Cherie Booth Blair), said in an interview that the plan will be to use the funding both to continue expanding in the US and its home market, and to continue investing in its technology.
Multiverse’s basic approach is to match human coaches – employed by the startup itself – with learners and then embed them in organizations that hire the learners – a list that now numbers 500 big names, including government organizations, Cisco, Verizon, Box , financial services companies and many others. Jobs covered in the Multiverse universe range from software engineers to data analysts, professional services and related positions.
That human element won’t be automated in any way, Blair stressed, but there are still a number of technical features the company plans to introduce to improve how the entire system works.
“It’s none or with automation, but a coach is essential for us,” Blair said, but said technology can be applied to improve the presentation of materials and help people learn in a way that complements human coaching. †Automation is also becoming increasingly important to see when they are struggling or lagging behind in progress assessments,” he added. And as the platform grows, it also expands the kind of roles it builds apprenticeships around, and each will come with its own. series of courses and more to build from, in addition to the rest of the infrastructure for managing these assignments.
It’s an approach that seems to be gaining traction. Despite the many challenges that Covid poses, especially the shift that so many knowledge worker organizations have made to remote environments; and a number of organizations freezing their hiring in the first place – Multiverse’s customer base has grown tenfold in the past two years. Multiverse notes that specific positions such as Software Engineering have seen 260% growth in enrollment year over year with a completion rate of over 85%.
Blair attributes this in part to the pandemic in some ways: the so-called digital transformation that many organizations went through to get their teams to work remotely also prompted many of them to think about teams in general. and how to invest in them. Among individuals, meanwhile, it has been shown that younger people who may have had doubts about college chose not to enroll, and the numbers there dwindled.
“The college doesn’t meet the needs of many people, so how can we support them? Through apprenticeships,’ Blaire posited.
The existence of technical and professional services apprenticeships, which still allow to get paid and receive professional training on the job, is the kind of model that gives many of those people options. This is especially needed in countries like the US, where two-thirds of adults do not have college degrees, but are trying to make way in job markets where 65% of jobs require a degree or higher learning qualifications.
“Landscapes can help thousands of companies better educate employees for the jobs needed to thrive in the age of digital transformation,” said Hunter Somerville, Partner at StepStone Group, in a statement. “Multiverse has a proven track record of building an unparalleled global platform to source, train and develop talent.”