The company run by Euan Blair, the son of former prime minister Sir Tony Blair, has become the UK’s first EdTech firm to achieve unicorn status after being valued at 1.7 billion US dollars (£1.4 billion) in its latest fund round.
Apprenticeship business Multiverse said it has secured 220 million US dollars (£175 million) in funding, doubling its valuation in just eight months and earning it a place among Britain’s unicorns.
It is understood Mr Blair – who was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to education in the recent Queen’s Birthday Honours – has a stake of between 25% and 50% of the business, now worth up to £677 million on paper.
He co-founded the group in 2016 with the aim of matching young adults and those looking to reskill with apprenticeships and the firm now works with more than 500 businesses worldwide.
It offers an alternative to university as the path to a tech career and it has helped more than 8,000 into apprenticeships globally.
The latest funding injection has come from US investment firm StepStone Group, and previous investors Lightspeed Venture Partners and General Catalyst.
Multiverse aims to use the money to expand further across the US, where it launched in January last year.
Mr Blair, chief executive of Multiverse, said: “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.”
The group claims that 56% of the apprentices it has placed are people of colour, more than half are women and 34% come from economically under-served communities.
Two-thirds of Americans do not have a college degree, even though 65% of jobs require some college of a bachelor’s degree.
Multiverse said this disproportionately excludes black and Hispanic Americans, while it also means companies are missing out on reaching a pool of potential talent and new recruits at a time when hiring is challenging.
Jeremy Duggan, president and board member at Multiverse, said: “The Multiverse journey so far 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.”