Multiverse, an EdTech company founded by Tony Blair’s son Euan and focused on professional apprenticeships, has been valued at $1.7 billion in its latest funding round.

The £175 million Series D funding was co-led by StepStone Group alongside returning investors Lightspeed Venture Partners and General Catalyst. 

Founders Circle Capital and existing investors Audacious Ventures, BOND, D1 Capital Partners, GV and Index Ventures also participated in the round.

It will be used to accelerate US expansion and broaden its range of learning programs, creating more routes to career progression for apprentices and helping organisations close digital skills gaps across their workforce.

The London company’s valuation has now doubled in the last eight months.

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The Multiverse community has now reached over 8,000 apprentices globally. Of these 56% are people of colour, more than half are women and 34% come from economically under-served communities.

The company currently trains professional apprentices with over 500 organisations globally, including Cisco, Verizon, Visa and Box in the US. 

“Mandating college degrees, and making admissions officers the gatekeepers for great careers, means leaving out thousands of talented individuals,” said CEO Euan Blair, who was recently made an MBE.

“There has never been a more pressing time to create an alternative to university education that is equitable and inclusive, and there is an incredible opportunity before us to change the status quo with apprenticeships. 

“This funding will help us bring more people without degrees or in need of re-skilling into tech careers and ultimately create a more diverse group of future leaders.” 

Multiverse apprenticeships offer tuition-free, paid programs in areas including software engineering, digital marketing and data analytics that typically last 12-15 months. They combine education with on-the-job training.

“The Multiverse journey has been characterised not only by rapid growth, but also by creating a real and actionable solution to the challenges of diversity in the workplace,” said Jeremy Duggan, president and board member at Multiverse. 

“One of the things that sets Multiverse apart is the impact our programs have on the aspirations and skills of our apprentices and the subsequent value they provide to organisations that employ them. 

“Going forward it’s important for us to ensure apprenticeships are available to anyone who can benefit from them, and to progress the crucial conversation around diversity in the workplace.”

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Youngme Moon, Donald K David Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, will join Multiverse’s board of directors. 

Professor Moon brings decades of experience to her role at Multiverse, and serves on the boards of businesses including Mastercard, Unilever, Warby Parker and Sweetgreen.

“Widening access to great careers is one of the most urgent issues of our time, and essential to solving both the war for talent, and the inequities of the current labour market,” said Professor Moon. 

“Many EdTech innovations have come and gone but Multiverse’s approach seeks to build a different system entirely. I’m truly excited about the potential of tech apprenticeships, and the system we can build through them.”