Tuesday 19 January 2021 2:14 pm

Multiverse raises $44m to fuel apprenticeship scheme expansion

A London startup founded by Tony Blair’s son has raised $44m (£32m) to help fuel expansion of its tech and leadership apprenticeship schemes.

Multiverse, whose training programmes are billed as an alternative to traditional university education, has pursued rapid growth over the last year, tripling its number of apprentices to more than 2,000.

Read more: The City View: Euan Blair on why apprenticeships are key to unlocking talent

The company will use the fresh cash injection to hire 200 new employees across the UK in 2021, and will launch in New York this month.

Multiverse, which was founded in 2016 by Euan Blair and tech entrepreneur Sophie Adelman, already boasts more than 300 clients in Europe, including Facebook, Morgan Stanley and KPMG.

The series B funding round, led by General Catalyst, also attracted investment from Google’s venture capital arm and outgoing Sky chief executive Jeremy Darroch.

Index Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners, who contributed to a $16m series A funding last year, also took part in the round. 

Read more: Coronavirus: New fund launched to create apprenticeships in London

In addition to the cash injection, Multiverse also announced the appointment of software industry veteran Jeremy Duggan as president and board member.

Duggan’s track record include taking software as a service firms App Dynamics, Blade Logic and Ascential Software to unicorn status.

“Over the last few years there’s been a desperate need across all companies for talented people with digital skills, which Covid has amplified. Bluntly, the system isn’t stepping up to the plate,” Duggan told City A.M.

“The acceleration in digital and tech has been incredible to see over the last few months and years – it’s no longer good enough to educate people according to a playbook that was written decades or, in the case of some universities, centuries ago.”

Read more: Don’t dismiss the apprenticeship levy — it could fix the UK’s productivity puzzle

Multiverse shuns traditional lecture-based education in favour of so-called applied learning, where apprentices are trained through immediate application and testing in the workplace.

Duggan said the company aimed to continue its rapid growth over the coming years and spark a “cultural reset” towards apprenticeships.