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How Edtech Multiverse Is Helping Young, Diverse Talent Win Apprenticeships

How Edtech Multiverse Is Helping Young, Diverse Talent Win Apprenticeships

Multiverse, a U.K.-based ed-tech company, on Jan. 19 formally announced the closure of a $44 million Series B round led by General Catalyst, with participation from Google Ventures, Audacious Ventures, Latitude, SemperVirens, Index Ventures, and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

As part of the development, Benzinga chatted with Multiverse's U.S. general manager Sophie Ruddock. 

About Multiverse: The higher education system is broken. That’s according to Ruddock, who understands the implications of barriers to education, such as tuition.

After identifying the issues making it difficult for workers to develop the skills to join the workforce of tomorrow, Ruddock joined Multiverse to help close the knowing-to-doing gap.

“I joined because of the strong social mission of the organization,” she said. “It’s a radical vision to build an outstanding alternative to college and corporate training by combining jobs, training, and community, through apprenticeships.”

The popularized higher education model is exclusive, untargeted, and fragmented.

“I was increasingly interested in what I saw to be a pretty broken higher-education system. It’s too expensive, it fails on economic mobility and diversity, and struggles to teach practical skills, as well as knowledge.”

In response, Multiverse rivals the experience of top college and corporate training experiences, helping diverse young talent find alternative routes to great careers without college degrees.

Core Product: Multiverse reskills in the growing areas of data, software engineering and business operations, among others.

The company’s offer can be broken down into, first and foremost, sourcing, matching and how to identify potential.

“That’s done through our recruitment platform that looks to surface skills, behaviors, desires, competencies like grit, conscientiousness, interpersonal skills, and really tear up the traditional resume, and enable past behaviors, past performance to be surfaced, instead of where do you go to college, and what’s your GPA?”

Then, through an algorithmically-assisted smart matching process, Multiverse matches talent to companies and specific roles.

“The majority of our programs are centered around this applied learning apprenticeship, and that is delivered hand-in-hand with a role that might be in data analytics, software engineering, project management, and business.”

At the end of the process, ambitious, job-seeking talents are offered a paid, full-time role with access to subject matter experts who have worked in the industry and know how to teach a curriculum designed to impart knowledge, as well as skills and behavior.

The ed-tech start-up is trusted by more than 300 clients in Europe alone, including Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), and KPMG.

“We see companies like Facebook rethinking how we bring in software engineers, and train them in-house. We see companies like KPMG using this approach to actually reskill entire portions of their workforce because, unlike learning you would do in school or in college, which is classroom-based and pretty theoretical, our models are focused on closing that knowing-to-doing gap.”

Another part of Multiverse’s offering is a commitment to community with clubs and societies, sports teams, high-profile speakers, and the like.

Recent Events: In light of pandemic disruptions, the digital transformation made the tech skills gap more acute.

“In April, Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, said that we’d undergone two years of digital transformation in two months. We’re now nine months on from that.”

In addressing supply imbalances for demanding industries like tech, Multiverse capitalized on its European success with a Series B round to expand to the United States.

“When you put that lens of this widening skills gap, alongside the fact that young people are increasingly questioning the value of college … these things are going to propel the conversation into a skills, not degree, requirement.”

It’s difficult for companies to cut degree requirements since they don’t know how to replace that proxy for excellence. That’s where Multiverse has been and will continue to work on reframing how employers think about measuring potential and providing them the tools to build skills from within.

“We’re planning on using these funds to double down on our expansion into the states, … investing in our tech platform, focusing on our best-in-class learning experience, and then expanding the breadth and depth of our product offerings,” Ruddock said.

Innovation Outlook: Since the pandemic started, nearly half of Multiverse’s workforce joined on with the company.

“That’s a testament to growth, and responding to the needs of the market, both from employers that are looking to radically change how they think about skills and diversity, but also the supply-side and the need and focus on actually needing to get in and start great jobs.”

Going forward, the company is looking to invest more heavily in its community, as well as outreach.

“We’re looking to ensure that we’re building these pipelines for underrepresented talent, ensuring that we have a really deep understanding of the different communities that we serve, and the right partnerships with educational organizations, public schools, and community colleges,” the Ruddock said.

“I think the pandemic, despite being incredibly tough for so many people, also represents a radical opportunity for us to rethink how companies think about skills, talent acquisition, and making sure racial equity is at the heart of these strategies, rather than keeping things siloed.”

To learn more about Multiverse, click here.


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