Acquisition of Searchlight by Multiverse’s Apprenticeship Unicorn Puts an Emphasis on AI

AI, apprenticeship unicorn, Focus, Multiverse, Searchlight

Multiverse, a leading U.K. edtech unicorn, has recently made an acquisition that further cements its position as a pioneer in the field of technology-based apprenticeships. The company has purchased Searchlight, a startup and recruitment platform that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to source talent. Multiverse plans to utilize Searchlight’s technology to develop new AI products that will enhance its professional training services and expand its reach.

The acquisition of Searchlight represents a significant development in the intersection of AI, workforce training, and recruitment. While AI has already shown its potential in automating various aspects of work and disrupting certain job roles, this acquisition demonstrates how AI can be harnessed to create more efficient and effective professional training programs. By leveraging AI capabilities in talent sourcing and matching, Multiverse aims to address recruitment gaps and deliver impactful training solutions to companies and individuals.

AI-powered recruitment platforms have had their fair share of challenges and controversies in the past. For instance, Amazon had to abandon an AI recruitment tool after it was found to be biased against women due to training data predominantly collected from male candidates. However, the field of AI has made significant strides in recent years, with a stronger focus on bias mitigation and fairness. Searchlight’s AI model, for example, claims to identify suitable candidates for a job at a rate four times higher than traditional interviews. This represents a major leap forward in the quest for equitable access to economic opportunities.

The founders of Searchlight, twin sisters Kerry and Anna Wang, are optimistic about the potential of their AI platform to transform workforce development. Multiverse’s acquisition of Searchlight will not only provide the edtech company with cutting-edge AI technology but also bring onboard the expertise of the Wang sisters. Kerry will assume the role of director of product at Multiverse, while Anna will become head of AI. Their combined knowledge and experience will undoubtedly contribute to the further advancement of Multiverse’s offerings.

Multiverse, founded and led by Euan Blair, son of former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, has established a strong presence in the market with around 1,000 customers, including prominent organizations such as Cisco and various government and financial services entities. Initially focused on apprenticeships as an alternative career pathway in rapidly evolving sectors like technology, Multiverse has expanded its services to cover professional training for individuals already in employment. The company already offers an AI-based personalized coaching assistant and intends to continue integrating technology to enhance its platform’s capabilities and attract customers seeking modern and innovative solutions.

While the financial terms of the Multiverse-Searchlight deal have not been disclosed, it is worth noting the impressive journey of Searchlight so far. Co-founded by the Wang sisters, both accomplished graduates of Stanford University, Searchlight raised close to $20 million in funding, including a successful $17 million Series A round in 2021. Notable investors in the company include Accel, Founders Fund, Emerson Collective, and Shasta Ventures. Pitchbook estimated Searchlight’s valuation at $64 million in 2021.

Multiverse’s valuation, on the other hand, reached $1.7 billion in 2022, and the company has received substantial investment from venture capital firms such as General Catalyst and Lightspeed. This acquisition marks Multiverse’s second successful purchase, following its acquisition of another Y Combinator-backed company, Eduflow, in the previous year.

According to statements from investors, the outcome of the acquisition has been well-received. Keith Rabois, who led Searchlight’s Series A funding round, expressed confidence in the outcome, praising the Wang sisters for their vision and the complementary nature of Searchlight’s AI models. He believes that Searchlight’s differentiated technology, combined with Multiverse’s expansive platform, will generate significant opportunities for both companies. This positive sentiment from investors demonstrates the potential for growth and success that Multiverse’s acquisition of Searchlight brings to the table.

In conclusion, Multiverse’s acquisition of Searchlight showcases the increasing role of AI in the domains of work, education, and workforce development. By harnessing Searchlight’s advanced AI technology and talent, Multiverse aims to build new AI products that will revolutionize professional training and address recruitment challenges. The acquisition not only strengthens Multiverse’s position as a leader in the edtech space but also highlights the potential of AI-powered platforms in creating equitable access to economic opportunities. With its expanding customer base and strategic acquisitions, Multiverse is well-positioned to shape the future of apprenticeships and professional training in the digital age.

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