Fast-rising Edtech startup, Microverse has announced a $12.5 million Series A raise. The round was led by global tech VC, Northzone, alongside previous investors like General Catalyst and All Iron Ventures. It also had participation from business angels and leading startups in Europe, Africa, and LATAM.
Microverse helps individuals, especially in developing countries, to learn how to code using a collaborative, cohort-based learning model that helps to prepare them for workspace efficiency.
The startup was founded in 2018 by Ariel Camus, a serial entrepreneur who sold his first company, TouristEye to Lonely Planet. TouristEye is a mobile application that enables users to collect destinations and activities to plan their trips and weekend getaways.
In a chat with Ariel, he told me that the raise further validates the company’s prospects for growth and impact. He said that the fund will help his team continue to scale their offerings, expand the team strength and meet its soaring demand.
Ariel said that he expects the school size to triple over the next 18 months. At the moment, the platform has over 1,000 full-time students from 118 countries. About 75% of the population is made up of learners from Africa and Latin America. He also noted that Microverse now receives an average of 10,000 new applications from about 200 countries each month.
Speaking on the raise, Ariel Camus said:
“ It doesn’t make sense that the place you’re born determines your opportunities in life. Microverse’s mission is to provide the world’s untapped talent with a high-quality education and to match companies in desperate need of digital talent with them. This investment comes at a pivotal moment, where demand from potential students to learn to code and from companies looking for global talent has never been higher.”
The growing demand for Microverse’s offering in developing economies is not surprising. One of the significant aftermaths of the COVID-19 pandemic is the remote work culture and the significant rise in demand for talents across shores.
A lot of young people, especially in Africa and Latin America, are getting foreign jobs as sweet remedies for dwindling local economic realities.
Microverse’s model is designed to support distributed teams and remote working, with 92% of the job offers received by its students being for remote roles. The learning process has also been designed to help the students acquire soft skills needed for the world of remote work alongside technical skills.
Ariel told me that under the guidance of experienced mentors, students learn full-time from each other using real work situations for the learning process. “Students leave the program work-ready, being provided with bespoke career coaching, support, and experience of cross-cultural collaboration,” he said.
“The results have been fantastic so far,” he told me while explaining that 95% of their graduates go into roles within six months of joining and enjoy an average salary increase of 240%.
Microverse already has more than 300 graduates working for leading tech companies, including Microsoft, VMWare, Globant, and Huawei.
Now to that part that really excited my interest:
Microverse provides an Income Share Agreement (ISA) with students participating from every country, making it the only school in the world to do so. How does it work?
The students are not required to pay upfront costs to attend Microverse. They only get to pay when they get paid. And that will happen when they earn at least $1,000 USD per month. They will pay back 15% of their income until they reach a $15,000 cap. This means that Microverse will be invested in their success to be successful.
Ariel told me that this model has helped to remove the barriers to access a world-class education. Many students from low economies and backgrounds cannot afford to pay these sums up-front.
This seems to be a winning line with the investors as well. Michiel Kotting, General Partner at Northzone referred to this when he spoke about the investment.
“If talent is universal, opportunities are not. Microverse wants to fix the biggest injustice of the modern world and make sure that the place you’re born in doesn’t determine your opportunities in life. Ariel and his team have built a high-quality program to select top talent around the world, and we’re proud to be early investors in the company.”
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