Silicon Valley unicorn plots major UK growth with £110m funding
Posted on April 23, 2021 by Jonathan Symcox
A major HR technology platform plans to rapidly grow in the UK after a £110 million funding round valued it at £1 billion.
Degreed, described as a workforce upskilling platform, is used by one in three Fortune 50 companies and plans to hire 200 people globally after raising the Series D funding.
Meanwhile, its CEO is to step aside due to health concerns.
The funding will be used to accelerate product development, enhance data infrastructure, fuel global expansion and pursue strategic acquisitions.
Founded in 2012, Degreed is headquartered in Pleasanton, California, with additional offices in Salt Lake City, New York, London, Amsterdam, and Brisbane.
It currently employs 40 people in the UK but David Maitland, VP, EMEA (West) for the firm, says it is “growing rapidly”.
“The current size of our UK market is over $5m ARR,” he tells BusinessCloud. “We are expecting growth of around 60% YoY in the UK this year.
“Our headcount will increase by over 200 globally, with a large proportion of hires coming from our international offices and locations, including the UK.
“The UK, and EMEA as a whole, is one of the top three in terms of Degreed’s international growth plans.
“Looking specifically at the UK, what we’ve found is that employees, and employers, are hungry for solutions that will help them navigate uncertainty, help them upskill for the future, and really make the UK a global leader in digital transformation and emerging technologies.”
Maitland is unconcerned by Brexit. “As a global company working across six continents, economic, societal, and political change is par for the course,” he explained. “We had plans in place to account for Brexit, so it doesn’t really impact our UK plans.
“Indeed, upskilling has become more critical for many organisations in the wake of Brexit, with many fearing skill shortages due to immigration limits and ‘brain drain’.”
Degreed connects a company’s learning, talent development and internal mobility opportunities to intelligence on the skills their business needs next.
The round was co-led by Sapphire Ventures and Riverwood Capital, and included participation from current investors Signal Peak Ventures, Owl Ventures, GSV Ventures, Founders Circle, Contour Investment Partners, Section Partners, and Alliance Bernstein, as well as new investor Firework Ventures.
After almost eight years at Degreed, Chris McCarthy is stepping down as CEO to address a chronic back issue but will remain in a strategic advisory capacity and sit on the company’s board of directors.
McCarthy led Degreed through a period of significant growth with compound annual revenue growth of 76% and an 800% increase in enterprise value during his three and a half years at the helm.
In 2020 alone, Degreed more than doubled its active user base and increased its team by 50%, to 600 employees, across six continents, while making major investments in product extensions to support the upskilling initiatives of its enterprise customers.
Former Box COO Dan Levin will succeed McCarthy. “When the Degreed board and I put this transition plan in place last year, the goal was to be as successful as we were in 2017 when co-founder David Blake made me the CEO,” said the latter.
“After a months-long process, we’re thrilled to have someone of Dan’s calibre driving the next phase of our growth.”
Levin added: “I am delighted to join the Degreed team. Chris and the entire company have done an amazing job delivering a service that over one-third of Fortune 50 companies use every day to retain, reskill and develop their most valuable employees.
“The workforce of the future will need to build and activate new skills on a continuous basis, and we are uniquely positioned to help them do just that.”