Apprenticeships tech unicorn Multiverse has acquired Searchlight, a talent intelligence and skills assessment platform that uses AI to help companies close their skills gaps.

London-based Multiverse was founded by Euan Blair – 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

California-based Searchlight was founded in 2018 by twins Anna Wang and Kerry Wang. The Stanford graduates started their journey with Y Combinator, and have since been recognised by Forbes 30 under 30. The company also received investment from top venture capital firms including Founders Fund and Accel.

Searchlight has been at the intersection of AI and skills for the last six years, building a bias-free AI engine that understands competencies, soft skills, working styles, and job requirements. Data shows it is capable of identifying candidate matches and mismatches four times more accurately than traditional hiring techniques.

Searchlight is the second acquisition for the company, following the purchase of Eduflow, another Y Combinator company, in May 2023. According to Crunchbase, only 13 UK-headquartered companies have acquired US-headquartered companies in the last 2 months, compared to 48 the other way around.

The Searchlight team will join Multiverse to spearhead the integration of its talent intelligence technology into Multiverse’s platform and lead Multiverse’s AI initiatives. Searchlight’s CEO, Kerry Wang will become director of product. Searchlight’s CTO, Anna Wang, will become head of AI.

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Founder and CEO of Multiverse, Euan Blair, said: “After meeting Anna and Kerry and digging into the Searchlight product, I was really excited at how they were using AI to spot patterns and identify skilling solutions both within and outside of the workforce.

“Most companies are on a journey of tech transformation and they want to do it in a way that is both equitable and effective. What often holds them back is the gap between the transformation they want to see, and the skills that will unlock it.

“Searchlight’s AI, platform, and exceptional talent will allow us to better diagnose the skills needed within companies and deliver impactful solutions. Combining our scale and world-class learning with Searchlight’s technology and team will ensure even more companies and individuals benefit.”

Co-founder and CEO of Searchlight, Kerry Wang, said: “We founded Searchlight to help companies build winning teams equitably and help individuals land meaningful work.

Anna Wang and Kerry Wang, Searchlight

Anna Wang and Kerry Wang, Searchlight

“From the moment I met the Multiverse team, it was clear that we share complementary goals and have been solving similar problems. By joining forces we can apply Searchlight’s tech and expertise at scale with some of the world’s largest companies, effectively becoming the workforce development platform of the future.”

Co-founder and CTO of Searchlight, Anna Wang, said: “Over the past six years, Searchlight has built custom data pipelines and proprietary, ethical AI models that understand talent holistically and predict the skills necessary for business success.

“Merging Searchlight’s existing AI and skills expertise with Multiverse’s rich data offers an unparalleled opportunity: together we will become the leader in leveraging AI for skills development.”

The combination of Searchlight’s technology and talent will accelerate the use of generative AI and machine learning at Multiverse.

Searchlight’s custom-built and bias-free AI engine will enhance Multiverse’s ability to identify, analyse, and close skills gaps within organizations through programs that are closely mapped to customer business needs.

Multiverse partners with more than 1,000 organisations to deliver training in areas such as data analytics and software engineering.

Its training model is built on a new kind of apprenticeship that is measured, applied, guided, and equitable, and its tech platforms exist to ensure learners have access to a high-quality, personalized experience that delivers measured ROI for their employers.

In June 2022, Multiverse announced a $220m Series D funding round co-led by StepStone Group, Lightspeed Venture Partners and General Catalyst. With a post-money valuation of $1.7bn, the round makes the company the UK’s first EdTech unicorn.

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