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Israel-based MasterSchool, a startup working to address the global shortage of tech talent, today announced it has raised $100 million in a seed round of funding, led by Group 11.

As IT leaders continue to increase the adoption of emerging technologies — artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and robotic process automation (RPA), among other things — the demand for qualified techies across functions is increasing. Organizations need skilled people to implement and drive their digital transformation initiatives — and are even willing to pay handsomely. 

But, as it turns out, there are just not enough skilled people to take the jobs. 

Between 2016 and 2019, nearly one million unified IT jobs went unfilled in the U.S. due to talent shortage. And, by 2030, the figure could rise to 85 million globally, translating into nearly $8.5 trillion in unrealized annual revenues. The situation is so grim that IT executives surveyed by Gartner have cited talent shortage as the most significant adoption barrier to 64% of emerging technologies.

“The ongoing push toward remote work and the acceleration of hiring plans in 2021 has only exacerbated IT talent scarcity, especially for sourcing skills that enable cloud and edge, automation, and continuous delivery,” Gartner research VP Yinuo Geng said. “As one example, of all the IT automation technologies profiled in the survey, only 20% of them have moved ahead in the adoption cycle since 2020. The issue of talent is to blame here.”

MasterSchool brings industry experts to help

Founded in 2019, MasterSchool strives to tackle this challenge with a network of expert-driven schools, specializing in different technology areas.

The company offers a platform where tech creators, recognized industry leaders or tech companies can launch their own online school. The platform allows them to train and mentor students with a curriculum that prepares them for careers in the most in-demand technology roles. 

Though many other companies offer online programs to hone tech skills, the usual model of work is providing a specific course (like to become a data analyst) from an institute/university. With MasterSchool, multiple experts can sign up to teach the same specialization. They can enroll a batch and then start sharing their tricks of the trade and associated professional and technical skills. The rest is handled by MasterSchool, including the resources and technology needed to run the school successfully.

“We’re providing our school leaders with an infrastructure that includes a dynamic syllabus system, school support and instructors as well as different tools that give visibility to the student progress,” Otni Levi, cofounder and co-CEO of the company, told VentureBeat.

“The program is 100% online. A typical week includes 25-40 hours of live lectures, assignments, one-on-one sessions, recorded lectures, reviews, class meetups, networking and self-learning. The schedule is provided in advance and presented as mandatory lectures & self-study, and optional sessions,” he added.

Currently, as many as 11 experts, including those from Facebook, Taboola, AT&T and MIT, teach data analysis on MasterSchool, six provide training for web development and two are focusing on cyber analysis.

Additional advantage

Along with hands-on training from industry leaders, MasterSchool also provides simultaneous and follow-up support to help learners land their dream job. The company uses a data-driven approach to regularly update its curriculum to reflect industry trends and needs and also runs a 12-week career accelerator with CV crafting workshops, interview simulations, 1:1 career coaching and active opportunity sourcing for the learners.

It charges $15,000 as the tuition fee, although the payment is deferred until the learner is employed with an annual salary of $30,000 or more. MasterSchool calls it the ‘mutual success’ model.

Plan ahead

With the latest round of funding, which saw participation from Target Global, Pitango Ventures, Dynamic Loop Capital, Sir Ronald Cohen and others, MasterSchool will work toward increasing its network of schools and expanding into more countries. Levi said he plans to have 100 schools by the end of the year, covering different tech domains for thousands of learners. 

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