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UK’s Multiverse raised $44M in a Series B round led by General Catalyst

Long-term trends show a dramatic increase in the number of people worldwide obtaining degrees beyond high school, one major factor being that a college degree typically provides better economic security. While university education is becoming more expensive and feels like a Petri dish for infections, long-term trends indicate that this trend will continue.

Today, a company is raising a sizable amount of expansion investment to see whether it can offer a genuine, scalable alternative to that model for those interested in technology and knowledge worker professions, notably by apprenticeships to bring in and teach younger people on the job.

Multiverse, a firm in Britain that links businesses with apprentices, has received the largest fundraising round ever for a U.K. ed-tech business. Multiverse, an alternative to traditional higher education, wants to grow in the USA. It was co-founded in 2016 by internet entrepreneur Sophie Adelman and Euan Blair, the son of former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair.

General Catalyst, which has been particularly busy this week with U.K. start-ups—it led a sizable round for Bloom & Wild yesterday, for example—is leading the Series B, together with G.V. (previously known as Google Ventures), Audacious Ventures, Latitude, and SemperVirens. Index Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners also participated and made the company’s initial $16 million Series A investment in 2020.

Even though the valuation is being kept a secret, the round did draw a lot of interest. The Series B funding amount increased by $8 million (it was closed at $36 million) between the time this article was pitched and when it was published. The business claims that the valuation reported by the F.T., which was roughly $200 million with this financing, is “speculation on the F.T.’s side.”

The business is now formally rebranding after being jointly created as WhiteHat. The company’s initial name, according to co-founder Euan Blair, who also happens to be the son of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his accomplished lawyer wife Cherie Booth Blair, alluded to how the business aimed to “hack the system for good.”

But he said, “The scale has grown larger and more sophisticated.” The new name is meant to communicate the idea that “everything is possible,” just like in gaming, which is likely the context in which you may have first heard this word.

As a post-18 young adult, one may live in “many realities,” added Blair. And while it has long been believed that the only way to enter the tech industry is through a two- to four-year (and frequently longer) journey through college or university to earn a higher education degree, Multiverse is betting that apprenticeships can quickly and widely become another option. He stated, “We aim to provide an excellent alternative to university and college.” These endure for around 1.5 years.  When considering how to target opportunities and encourage people from more marginalized groups to connect with them, particularly how this ties up with how tech companies are looking to be more diverse in hiring talent in the future, the concept of an “outstanding alternative” is especially crucial. The ideal situation is that none of these objectives should be pursued at the expense of quality, either in terms of what individuals learn from experiences or the talent that results from those experiences and is hired

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