FourthRev co-founder Jack Hylands

London-based digital education start-up FourthRev has closed a seed round at £2.3 million led by US-based education specialist venture capital firm Reach Capital. Existing investors Emerge Education returned for the seed round, alongside Dunce Capital.

FourthRev has also secured backing from a number of angel investors including US education executive Craig Pines and Charlie Songhurst, former head of corporate strategy at Microsoft.  

FourthRev was founded in Melbourne in 2019 and brings together universities, technology companies and employers to deliver learning experiences with pathways to qualifications and jobs in the digital economy.

The company stated that the funds raised will primarily be used to develop its online learning platform and to double headcount, currently 35-strong, across the UK, Australia and the US.

FourthRev’s pre-seed fundraising round closed at £450,000 last February by the company founders Jack Hylands and Omar de Silva.

Hylands said: “Having the backing of Emerge Education and Reach Capital who are behind some of the leading innovators in our industry, confirms our approach and ambitions for growing digital skills globally. It’s our hope that with this the investment, we will be able to build on our unique global partnerships and our world-class online learning experiences, to unlock the opportunities which a digital economy offers society and address this growing problem of our time.”

Shauntel Garvey, general partner at Reach Capital, added: “We believe work-integrated learning solutions like FourthRev will continue to gain traction as learners seek experiences that combine academic learning with in-demand skills. We look forward to partnering with Hylands and de Silva, whose global networks and experience across education and technology make them uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between higher education and industry.”

Jan Lynn-Matern, founder and partner of Emerge Education, said: “We strongly believe that the widening gap between higher education and industry cannot be solved unless we rapidly scale the breadth and depth of employer-university collaboration. FourthRev is creating a new education category at the intersection of these two stakeholder groups that has the potential to achieve this. We’re very excited to be doubling down on our investment and supporting the management team to the next step.”

FourthRev stated its courses are currently available via 11 higher educational providers worldwide, including University of Coventry and FutureLearn, RMIT, University of Canberra and University of California, Irvine. The start-up added it is talking to a further 20 organisations, with plans to double the number of higher education partners in the next 12 to18 months.

Date published: 9 February 2021

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