Denver-based Guild Education, a B Corporation certified company that focuses on creating opportunity for America’s workforce through education, has raised $157 million in a Series D funding round led by venture capital firm General Catalyst with its Chairman and Managing Director, Ken Chenault, leading the investment and joining Guild’s Board of Directors, the company has announced in a press release.
Others who participated in the round include Emerson Collective, Iconiq Capital and Lead Edge, as well as existing investors including Workday Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, Next Play Capital, Silicon Valley Bank, Felicis Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Redpoint Ventures, and Harrison Metal.
The latest funding has made Guild, now valued at $1 billion, becomes the latest female-led as well as edtech company to hit $1 billion valuation.
Founded in 2015 by Rachel Romer Carlson and Brittany Stitch, Guild focuses on creating opportunity for America’s workforce, especially those without a high school diploma or college degree, through education. It partners with leading Fortune 1000 employers, such as Walmart, Lowe’s, Walt Disney, Discover Financial, Taco Bell and Chipotle, to help them provide education benefits to their workforce. Guild also partners with a diverse network of non-profit, accredited universities, such as the University of Arizona, Purdue Global, Southern New Hampshire University, and the University of Central Florida, that focus on serving working adults.
Guild claims it has helped 400,000 working adults to date to explore their paths back to school with their company’s support. Through their company’s sponsorship, Guild helps employees access to a variety of education programs, including bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as certificates, trade diplomas, English-as-a-second-language classes, and high school completion programs.
The company said that it will use the latest funding to continue its focus of reaching the millions of Americans who need access to higher education, expand its set of employer and university partnerships, explore acquisition opportunities and grow its team to better serve those partners and support more students.
Speaking on the latest round of funding, Rachel Carlson, Guild Education CEO and Co-founder, said,
“Ken and I share a deeply held belief that today’s leading CEOs are uniquely capable of driving social change around the world, but most importantly within their own company, for their employees and their families. This new financing and Ken’s partnership will further advance our mission to support the 88 million Americans who are in need of reskilling and upskilling in order to compete in the future of work, helping them go back to school debt-free with support from their employer.”
According to Guild, 54% of American workforce will need retraining or reskilling by 2022. The company is committed to expanding opportunity through education for these individuals.
From importance of education in combating income inequality, describing Guild as a company not just with a mission, to appreciating the company’s strong business model, Ken Chenault, Chairman and Managing Director, General Catalyst, said,
“The role of education in combating income inequality and arming individuals who feel disempowered in society should not be underestimated. Rachel’s extensive work in higher education with low income students gave her the unique insight that much of the American dream is unlocked with access to quality education, which can be transformational. Guild gives corporations the unique opportunity to provide this access to their employees, while increasing talent retention and delivering value to the enterprise. Guild is a company not just with a mission, but also a strong business model and an ability to deliver in ways that will benefit both corporations and society more broadly.”
Needless to mention, Guild has been named a Fast Company Most Innovative Company, Top Woman-Owned Business of the Year, Best Places to Work, Employee Initiative of the Year, and was one of the three female-led companies listed on the Forbes Cloud 100 2019 List. Guild has raised $71.5 million from impact investors.