Jolt, the London-based edtech offering a flexible business school alternative, has raised a $14.1 million Series A to expand its program. The latest round of funding has been led by Balderton Capital, alongside Hillsven Capital and Octopus Ventures.
Jolt is designed for young professionals eager to switch or accelerate their careers, but who can’t afford the tuition or time required by a traditional masters program. The startup offers a modular, self-designed, pay-as-you-go curriculum, with courses taught by global business leaders from business brains from the likes of Google, Netflix, and Tesla. A Jolt NAMBA (“Not An MBA”) program costs £175 a month, or £4,500 in total. The program is 18 times cheaper than the London Business School and has surpassed it in student enrollment. The flexibility and affordable price point are likely why Jolt’s enrollment is growing 25 percent month over month. The company was founded in 2015 by entrepreneurs Roei Deutsch, Nitzan Cohen-Arazi and Nadav Leshem, who were disillusioned by the current higher education system and falling student numbers.
“Higher education is in a bubble in which a staggering $2.3 trillion is invested every year in something that works for a small minority of people,” explained CEO Roei Deutsch. “Data shows more than three quarters of graduates believe many higher education programs are no longer fit for purpose; trust and confidence in academia have nosedived in recent years, and the number of applications for MBA courses across most major establishments has fallen.” The three founders used their past experiences in alternative training and education programs to launch Jolt’s live video courses marketplace in 2016. Since then the business has created digital classrooms within existing co-working spaces, connecting students and lecturers from around the world via live video and the Jolt app.
Beyond e-learning, Jolt wants its alternative education system to have the same networking opportunity, credentials, and opportunity to learn life skills that traditional programs offer.
Since launching its first campus two years ago, Jolt now has three sites in London in Shoreditch, Soho and Liverpool Street, seven across Israel, and is finalising plans to launch campuses in Manhattan in 2020. Since its NAMBA program launched in July, Jolt has gained 10 percent of the market share in Israel, and 1.5 percent in the larger UK market.
In total, the startup has raised $23.3 million and plans to use the latest funding to further its expansion across the UK, Israel and into the US. Commenting on the round, James Wise of Balderton Capital said: “There is a rapidly increasing demand from both employees and employers for more adaptive forms of professional education. Jolt combines a powerful tech platform with a deep understanding of how people really learn to fulfill this demand, giving the learner complete control over when, what and with whom they study. We believe Jolt has the potential to help tens of millions of students, who couldn’t otherwise afford the time or cost of a traditional business school, to gain new skills and meet new people.”