The Walton dynasty – America’s wealthiest family and the owners of Walmart – has acquired a stake in a fledgling start-up founded by the son of former British Prime Minister Sir Tony Blair.
Euan Blair, 39, co-founded Multiverse in 2016 and it trains apprentices for recruitment, matches them with companies and provides a range of courses including technology, data science and more.
This investment comes from Zoma Capital, the Walton family fund, and it valued the company at £1.37 billion ($1.7 billion). Thus, Blair’s 25 per cent stake amounts to an estimated £342 million ($425 million) in total.
Competitors of Multiverse include General Catalyst and Google, who have also purchased shares in the start-up. However, the business has reported six consecutive years of losses, so the Walton’s have taken a considerable risk with this move.
Throughout Euan’s father’s Prime Ministership, Tony Blair made a vocal commitment to ‘Education, Education, Education’ and getting more pupils into higher education. Tuition fees raised fourfold to £3,000 in 2003, despite no earlier promise to do so, and universities are now charging £9,250 for undergraduates.
Fortunately for apprentices, the UK government does provide some financial support in the form of its levy and allowed Multiverse to expand into the US, taking the talent and capabilities it offers with it.
Multiverse is the first apprenticeship provider to be awarded degree-awarding powers from the Office for Students and the company provides apprenticeships to notable companies like Rolls-Royce, the NHS, Morgan Stanley and Mastercard.
The Walton dynasty has certainly shown their commitment to social causes, by investing in a start-up with a cause such as improving education and skills. Long-term progress can be achieved if it pays off.