The founding mission of Euan Blair’s Multiverse to provide a practical alternative to university has been all-but ditched, according to reports.
The apprenticeships tech unicorn was founded by the son of former Prime Minister Tony Blair and Sophie Adelman as WhiteHat in 2016 to train school-leavers in areas such as data analytics and software engineering via partnerships with tech companies.
Adelman told BusinessCloud in 2018: “The value of a university degree for many jobs has gone down and there needs to be a one-size-fits-all approach to further and higher education.
“If I’d had the option when I was 18 of doing digital marketing at Google, would I have leapt at that chance? Yes, absolutely. Do I regret going to university? No, but I wish I’d had that choice.”
WhiteHat rebranded to Multiverse in 2021 as it raised £32 million from a slew of high-profile American VCs to fund a launch into the US. By that point, Adelman had stepped back from operational responsibilities and soon after she also left the company’s board.
After the company made its first acquisition with Danish EdTech Eduflow, revealed in May 2023, Blair said that its mission remained to “dramatically increase the number of apprentices we can reach from every background and build an alternative to university that is sustainable and accessible, and available at any point in your career”.
However CityAM, citing unnamed former employees at the company as its source, now reports that Multiverse has cut more than 40 jobs over the last 12 months – almost exclusively in the ‘early talent’ division.
While also accusing the company of promoting a ‘cut-throat culture of fear set from the top’ – said to be caused by pressure to turn a first profit – they claimed the company has changed direction to focus on training existing employees at companies.
Multiverse responded: “At the core of our mission is the belief that education shouldn’t be a single shot at the start of a career and the barriers to economic mobility that skills solve don’t reduce by dint of age.”
They added that it has “always reviewed skills sets across our company as teams have changed in size… it is completely normal for companies at growth stage [to say] goodbye to valued team members”.