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Multiverse, the apprentice unicorn, acquires Searchlight to emphasize AI




Multiverse, the apprentice unicorn, acquires Searchlight to emphasize AI

Multiverse, the British unicorn that creates apprenticeship programs that help people learn technology skills on the job, has made an acquisition as it looks to improve itself. The company has purchased Searchlight, a startup and recruitment platform that uses artificial intelligence-based technology to find talent. The plan will be to use Searchlight’s technology to build new AI products for Multiverse to expand its professional training services.

“Searchlight’s AI, platform and exceptional talent will enable us to better diagnose the skills needed within businesses and deliver impactful solutions,” Multiverse founder and CEO Euan Blair said in a statement. “Combining our scale and world-class education with Searchlight’s technology and team will ensure even more companies and individuals will benefit.”

Searchlight was co-founded by twin sisters Kerry and Anna Wang (CEO and CTO respectively). Existing customers (including Udemy, Zapier, Talkdesk and other tech companies) will be served until the end of their contracts. After that, the plan will be to phase out Searchlight’s recruiting services and focus on Multiverse’s operations.

The deal underlines the increasing role AI plays in the world of work and education. Some people will use AI to speed up their work; others will argue so AI is completely taking over certain jobs. This acquisition focuses on a third area where AI is entering: helping build more efficient professional training services to fill hiring gaps.

AI and recruitment have sometimes been strange bedfellows. Amazon famous once had to scrap an AI recruiting tool after it was found to be inherently biased against women for tech roles because it was trained on typical recruiting data, which more often came from men. But technology — and especially awareness of how models are built and trained — has come a long way since then, Searchlight’s CEO told JS.

“Our AI model is able to identify a good match for a role that is four times larger than a traditional job interview,” said Wang. “We are solving the exact same problem, which is better equal access to economic opportunities for everyone. Multiverse had a great business, but they want to expand into an all-in-one workforce development platform.” Kerry will become product director at Multiverse, while Anna will become head of AI.

Founded and led by Blair (the son of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and high-profile lawyer Cherie Booth Blair), Multiverse currently has approximately 1,000 customers, with a list of past and present clients including Cisco, government organizations, financial services and industrial companies. businesses.

While Multiverse first made a name for itself with a focus on apprenticeships as a viable alternative for those looking to build a career in fast-moving fields like technology, it has since expanded to include professional training for those already employed. Multiverse now has a number of AI-based services live, says Ujjwal Singh, the company’s CTO and CPO: It already offers a personalized AI assistant coach for users. Now it clearly wants to continue layering more technology to improve the overall platform and its credibility among a group of customers who plan to buy and use the most modern services they can.

The financial terms of the deal are not disclosed, but in some context, the Wang sisters – both impressive and talented Stanford students – launched their startup in 2018 through Y Combinator. In total, Searchlight raised almost $20 million, but that was mainly through a fundraiser. several years ago, a $17 million Series A in 2021. The long list of investors included some prominent names such as Accel, Founders Fund, Emerson Collective and Shasta Ventures. Pitch book estimated the 2021 valuation at $64 million.

Multiverse, meanwhile, was last valued at $1.7 billion in 2022 and has been on a fundraising spree over the years, raising hundreds of millions of dollars from investors like General Catalyst and Lightspeed. This is the company’s second acquisition after acquiring another YC company, Eduflow, last year.

From what we understand, investors are “happy” with the outcome. “From the beginning, Anna and Kerry thought about building Searchlight’s AI models to complement their vision,” Keith Rabois, who led the Series A, said in a statement to JS. “Searchlight’s differentiated technology is a magnet for innovative companies such as Multiverse. I am excited about the benefits of this acquisition for Searchlight and Multiverse.”