London-based apprenticeship startup WhiteHat has raised $4 million in seed funding. The round was led by Silicon Valley investor Lightspeed Venture Partners, with participation from Village Global, ShopTalk and Money 20/20 founder Anil Aggarwal, and British tech entrepreneur Wendy Tan White. Nakul Mandan, partner at Lightspeed, will also be joining WhiteHat’s board.
Launched in 2016, WhiteHat provides an alternative to university by matching non-graduate talent with apprenticeships across a wide range of sectors, such as tech, professional services, finance and retail. Additionally, the startup offers training in partnership with General Assembly, Flatiron School, and other leading content providers.
“We’re changing the way young people from all backgrounds are able to access the best careers and are partnering with Lightspeed to scale this global vision for the future of work,” said co-founder Euan Blair. “Every developed economy is facing a skills shortage, compounded by universities not adapting to the changing nature of the labour market and, with dramatically rising university costs, students are increasingly looking for alternatives. Finally, nearly every major company in the tech, creative and professional services space is trying to figure out how to introduce more diversity into their organisations.”
WhiteHat is already working with major companies such as Google, Facebook, WeWork, Salesforce, Warner Bros and Burberry. The apprenticeships last a minimum of 12 months and provide opportunities in digital marketing and social media, software engineering, accounting and finance, leadership, and business administration.
“For the first time we’re presenting a compelling alternative to university both in terms of career prospects and earning potential via apprenticeships," said co-founder Sophie Adelman. "As we look to the future of work, employers are understanding that applied learning is more useful than academic knowledge."