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Tony Blair’s son wins backing of America’s richest family

Euan Blair, Multiverse Founder and CEO, alongside President, Jeremy Duggan - Dan Joseph
Euan Blair, Multiverse Founder and CEO, alongside President, Jeremy Duggan - Dan Joseph

America’s richest family has taken a stake in a start-up founded by Euan Blair, the son of the former Labour Prime Minister.

The $225bn (£182bn) Walton dynasty has bought shares in Multiverse, a business that helps companies find and train promising school leavers as an alternative to recruiting more expensive graduates.

Zoma Capital – the family fund of Ben and Lucy Ana Walton, whose fortune comes from the retail empire Walmart – took part in a funding round that valued Mr Blair's business at $1.7bn.

Mr Blair, 39, has a paper fortune of around $425m based on his more than 25pc stake in Multiverse.

In its last annual results, the company lost £14.2m on revenues of £27.3m.

Multiverse’s clients include the NHS, Morgan Stanley and Capita. Last year, it became the first apprenticeship provider to receive a licence to award degrees in courses that run alongside full-time jobs.

Its UK programmes are supported by funds raised through the government’s apprenticeship levy, but the business raised $220m last year to expand its training programmes into the US.

Filings published last week show that Zoma took a £5m stake in Multiverse at the time. The round was led by investors including General Catalyst and Google and made Multiverse  one of the country's most valuable start-ups.

The Walton family still owns around 50pc of Walmart, the department store chain founded in 1962 by the late Sam Walton. Ben Walton is the grandson of the Walmart founder.

Multiverse declined to comment on the investment.

Zoma, which is based in Colorado, invests in businesses aimed at social causes, such as improving education and skills, clean energy and social entrepreneurship.

Zoma did not respond to a request for comment.

Mr Blair, whose father Tony overaw a massive expansion of universities that fuelled fears of low-value “Mickey Mouse” degrees, has repeatedly insisted that higher education is not right for many young people.

A Multiverse spokesman said the business, since it was founded in 2016, has worked with 10,000 apprentices at 1,000 companies. The spokesman added 93pc of apprentices stayed at the company they had trained at after their apprenticeship ended.