London-based Jolt, an edtech startup that offers a flexible business school alternative, has raised $14.1 million in a fresh funding round to disrupt higher education with its pay-as-you-go MBA program.
The Series A round was led by Balderton Capital, alongside Hillsven Capital and Octopus Ventures.
Founded in 2015 by Roei Deutsch, Nitzan Cohen-Arazi and Nadav Leshem, Jolt provides affordable and flexible alternative diplomas to the expensive, stilted MBAs offered by traditional educational institutions. It offers a modular, self-designed, pay-as-you-go curriculum, with courses taught by global business leaders from the likes of Google, Netflix, and Tesla. The platform 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 founders launched the company seeing the current higher education system and falling student numbers. Pointing out the problem in the current higher education system, Roei Deutsch, Co-founder and CEO of Jolt, said,
“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. 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.”
Jolt offers NAMBA (‘Not an MBA’) program that costs only £175 a month, or £4,500 in total. The company claims the program is 18 times cheaper than the London Business School and has surpassed it in student enrolment.
The founders used their past experiences in alternative training and education programs to launch Jolt’s live video courses marketplace in 2016. Since then the startup has created digital classrooms within existing co-working spaces, connecting students and lecturers from around the world via live video and the Jolt app.
Commenting on the funding, James Wise, Partner at 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 fulfil 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.”
Jolt now has three sites in London in Shoreditch, Soho and Liverpool Street, seven across Israel, and is said to be finalizing plans to launch campuses in Manhattan in 2020. Meanwhile, Jolt has raised $23.3 million till date, and the company is planning to use the latest funding to further its expansion across the UK, Israel and into the US.