Euan Blair, the son of former prime minister Sir Tony Blair, is now the owner of a tech unicorn after his firm was valued at $1.7bn (£1.4bn) in its latest funding round.
Multiverse, a business which matches young adults and those looking to re-skill with apprenticeships, is the UK’s first EdTech firm to achieve unicorn status — a startup that is privately owned with a valuation that exceeds $1bn.
The Google-backed (GOOG) firm secured $220m in funding from US investment firm StepStone Group, and previous investors Lightspeed Venture Partners and General Catalyst.
This doubled its valuation in just eight months, from $875m in September, and earned it a place among Britain’s unicorns. The money is set to be used to expand the firm further across the US, where it launched in January last year.
Blair, who was recently made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to education, has a stake of between 25% and 50% in the business.
This means he is worth as much as £677m ($850m) on paper.
Multiverse was co-founded by Blair in 2016 and now works with more than 500 businesses worldwide.
It offers an alternative path to a tech career, away from the standard university route, and it has helped more than 8,000 into apprenticeships across the globe.
“Mandating degrees, and making admissions officers the gatekeepers for great careers, means leaving out thousands of talented individuals,” he said.
“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.”
He added: “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."
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 or 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.”