Masterschool raises $100M to tackle the world's tech talent shortage

Masterschool raises $100M to tackle the world’s tech talent shortage

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Education technology startup Masterschool said today it has closed on a $100 million round of funding as it looks to satisfy the seemingly unquenchable thirst for technology talent in the enterprise.

Despite the big number, the raise is being billed as a “seed funding” round led by Group 11, together with participation from Target Global, Pitango Ventures, Dynamic Loop Capital, the British venture capitalist Sir Ronald Cohen and other investors.

Masterschool, officially known as Spark Innovation Ltd., has hit upon the idea of creating a network of career training schools for the information technology industry, where students can study to become data analysts, web developers, cyber analysts and more. What’s unique about Masterschool, though, is that students don’t need to pay for their education upfront, eliminating one of the biggest hurdles for many people who would like to further their careers. Instead of billing its students, Masterschool puts them through their training and helps them find a job — and only once they’re gainfully employed do they have to pay for the course.

The company reckons there’s a big need for this kind of opportunity, with more than 1 million unfilled IT jobs in the U.S. alone. It says the shortage of tech talent is one of the biggest challenges faced by companies today, and that the number of unfilled IT jobs worldwide will exceed 85 million by the end of the decade.

Masterschool has been up and running since 2019 and so far has produced dozens of graduates from its network of schools that have since gone on to be hired by big-name tech firms such as Google LLC, Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp., with the average student more than doubling the previous salary.

The courses are not for everyone. Masterschool will test new applicants, who must pass an admission process that aims to weed out all but the most ambitious and motivated candidates. This selection process is designed in collaboration with researchers the European University Institute and MIT Sloan School of Management, in order to minimize selection bias and ensure diversity.

Masterschool’s course curriculum and teaching materials are informed by a continual analysis of market trends and adjusted to meet the needs of the tech industry. Once selected, students will complete a six- to nine-month course before entering a “career accelerator,” where they can work with mentors to enhance their soft skills and pursue various job opportunities.

Masterschool’s network of schools includes those founded by industry experts and social media influencers such as Charlotte Chaze, who has more than 240,000 followers on TikTok, and Keith Galli and Niklas Steenfatt, who each boast more than 160,000 YouTube subscribers.

Group 11 Founding Partner Dovi Frances said the traditional tech education model is broken and that Masterschool has built a proven and scalable business to rewrite it. “Their growing network of schools empowers students to bypass the financial and operational inefficiencies of legacy education, while also allowing growing companies to address the massive talent shortages we see in the market today,” he said.

Masterschool co-founder and co-Chief Executive Michael Sharp said today’s funding will be used to scale up its network of schools and mentors and create more opportunities for people to pursue a tech career.

Photo: Masterschool

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