Multiverse just raised $220 million to expand its apprenticeship programs, making it the U.K’.s first ed tech unicorn, according to a release.
The company, led by Euan Blair, has become known for its tech apprenticeship partnerships at some of the largest companies across the globe. It launched its first U.S. partnership in 2021 with Verizon and has since expanded to work with Cisco and Box. Its latest round of funding was co-led by StepStone Group, Lightspeed Venture Partners and General Catalyst, and brings the company’s valuation to $1.7 billion.
According to the release by Multiverse, the company plans to use the funding as a way to introduce more people without traditional or technical degrees into the tech industry and create a more diverse pool of talent. Apprenticeships have become widely considered as an effective way to diversify the tech talent pipeline. A recent report from the Kapor Center in partnership with the NAACP found that according to federal registered apprenticeship data, 17% of apprentices from 2016 to 2021 were Black.
Currently, Multiverse has trained over 8,000 apprentices globally, and of that number 56% reportedly identify as people of color and over half are women. The company’s apprenticeships are tuition-free programs in areas ranging from software engineering and digital marketing to data analysis. Participants earn a salary while completing on-the-job training and educational courses related to the field. Software engineering has remained one of its most in-demand programs. In the past year, Multiverse experienced a 260% increase in enrollment.The Biden administration has also been a large supporter of expanding apprenticeship efforts in the U.S. beyond the traditional trades. In February, it launched an initiative to expand the Registered Apprenticeship Program with the Apprenticeship Building America Grant Program. The grant will make $113 million in funding available to approved programs and is aimed at diversifying and modernizing the U.S.'s own apprenticeship programs — something many tech companies stand to benefit from amid a persistent labor shortage and teetering economy.