Tel Aviv-based startup Jolt, a company that offers alternative digital courses in business and marketing disciplines, has raised US$14.1m in a Series A funding round driven by Balderton Capital, with Hillsven Capital and Octopus Ventures also taking part. The investment brings Jolt’s total funding to US$23.3m in just three years.
The company plans to use this cash injection to expand its offerings in the UK and Israeli markets, as well as to build its first bricks and mortar campus in the US, which will open in Manhattan. It already holds three sites in London (Shoreditch, Soho and Liverpool Street) and seven in Israel.
“Higher education is in a bubble in which trillions is being invested in something that works for a small minority of people,” Jolt co-founder and CEO Roei Deutsch told Tech Crunch.
“A staggering US$2.3tn a year is invested into higher education despite the fact that data shows 79% of graduates don’t believe it’s working as it should…At Jolt, we’re creating a high-end, in-person, widely global and affordable higher education platform that people can actually see as an alternative to traditional higher education.”
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Setting students on an alternative path to the traditional business school route, Jolt currently provides online classes in management, marketing, and other business-related topics through a programme given the tongue-in-cheek name of ‘Not an MBA’.
Applicants are expected to have an undergraduate degree and at least two years of work experience already under their belts in order to gain acceptance. According to Jolt, programme completion takes 8 – 24 months and charges a monthly fee of £175 (approx. US$230).
“Students sign up for lessons via the Jolt app and attend these lessons at their nearest campus,” Deutsch told Tech Crunch. “Lessons are offered outside of traditional working hours, largely in the evening, to help people study alongside their day job. Once they’ve completed a lesson/section, they are given a qualification that can be used straightaway, or put towards part of a wider diploma. These lessons and workshops revolve around practical application of the skills, debates and discussions, role-playing and other interactive tasks.”