The education business run by Euan Blair, the son of the former prime minister Tony Blair, has joined the ranks of the UK’s unicorns after being valued at $1.7 billion (£1.36 billion) in its latest funding round, increasing his paper fortune to more than £600 million.
Multiverse, an apprenticeship company, was founded in 2016 to match people who have not been to university with jobs and training, paid for by their employers.
The funding, which has come from Stepstone, the US investment group, and two previous investors, Lightspeed Venture Partners and General Catalyst, is being used to expand the business in the US as well as the company’s range of tuition programmes.
Blair, 38, said he was trying to create an alternative to university education that brought in people who were traditionally excluded from the workplace.
He said: “There is an incredible opportunity before us to change the status quo with apprenticeships. This funding will help us to bring more people without degrees or in need of re-skilling into tech careers and ultimately create a more diverse group of future leaders.” He was awarded an MBE for services to education in the recent Queen’s Birthday Honours.
The company claims that 56 per cent of its apprentices are people of colour, more than half are women and a third come from poor communities.
Two thirds of Americans do not have a college degree but two thirds of companies ask for one when hiring staff. Multiverse trains apprentices in technical areas such as digital marketing and data analytics, with clients ranging from Google and Unicef to Morgan Stanley and Kantar.
Blair owns between 25 and 50 per cent of the business and employs more than 600 people, mostly based in the UK.
The latest accounts in March 2021 show the company made a loss of £10.9 million. A source close to the business said they would not speculate about when it would become profitable but that its backers expected it to invest in growth.