Multiverse, The Apprentice Unicorn, gets the spotlight to focus on AI.

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Image credit: Searchlight / Searchlight co-founders Kerry Wang and Anna Wang

Multiverse, the UK unicorn that creates apprenticeship programs for people to learn technology skills while on the job, has made an acquisition as it aims to upskill itself. The company has acquired Searchlight, a startup and recruitment platform that uses artificial intelligence-based technology to source talent. The plan is to use Searchlight’s tech to build new AI products for Multiverse to expand its professional training services.

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

Searchlight was founded by twin sisters Carrie and Anna Wang (CEO and CTO respectively). Its existing customers (which include Udemy, Zapier, Talkdesk and other tech companies) will continue to be served until the end of their contracts. After that, the plan is to phase out Searchlight’s recruiting services as they focus on Multiverse’s business.

The agreement marks the growing role that AI is playing in the world of work and education. Some will use AI to speed up their work. Others will claim that AI is completely taking over some jobs. The acquisition addresses a third area where AI is appearing: to help build more efficient vocational training services to fill the recruitment gap.

AI and recruitment have been strange bedfellows at times. Amazon famously had to scrap an AI recruitment tool once when it was found to be inherently biased against women for technical roles, having been trained on generic recruitment data, which typically consisted of men. Comes. But the technology — and more precisely the awareness of building and training models — has come a long way since then, Searchlight’s CEO told TechCrunch.

“Our AI model is able to identify a good match for a role four times more often than a traditional interview,” Wang said. . Multiverse’s business was great but they are looking to expand into a single workforce development platform. Kerry will become director of product at Multiverse, while Anna will become head of AI.

Founded and led by Blair (son of former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and high-profile barrister Cheri Booth Blair), Multiverse currently has around 1,000 customers, including past and present Cisco, government organisations, financial services and industrials. has a list of clients. Companies

While Multiverse first made its name by focusing on apprenticeships as a viable alternative for people looking to pursue careers in fast-moving fields such as technology, it has since expanded to serve people already employed. has been extended to cover vocational training. Ajul Singh, the company’s CTO and CPO, said that Multiverse now has some AI-based services live: It already offers a personalized AI assistant coach for customers. Now it clearly wants to layer in more technology to improve the overall platform, and build its reputation with a set of users intent on buying and using what they see as the most innovative services. There are things they can do.

Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed, but for some context, the Wang sisters — both impressive and successful Stanford grads — got their start through Y Combinator in 2018. In total, Searchlight raised about $20 million, but that was primarily through fundraising dating. A $17 million Series A in 2021, several years earlier. Its long list of investors included prominent names such as Excel, Founders Fund, Emerson Collective, and Shasta Ventures. Pitchbook estimated his worth in 2021 at $64 million.

Multiverse, meanwhile, was last valued at $1.7 billion in 2022 and has been unsuccessful in fundraising for several years, having raised several hundred million dollars from investors that include General Catalyst and Lightspeed. This is the company’s second acquisition after acquiring another YC company Eduflow last year.

Investors are “happy” with the results from what we understand. “From the beginning, Anna and Carrie have been thinking about building Searchlight’s AI models to fulfill their vision,” Keith Rabois, who led the Series A, said in a statement provided to TechCrunch. “Searchlight’s diverse technology is a magnet for innovative companies. The Multiverse. I’m excited about the upside of this acquisition for Searchlight and more. The Multiverse

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