Our Investment in Guild Education: Closing the Skills Gap — EdTech Goes Mainstream

September 6, 2017


When we first stepped foot in Guild’s Denver HQ, the room was teeming with energy and passion. The lobby had handmade envelopes for student coaches to receive letters of encouragements, the conference room was full of post-it notes from a recent design and engineering session, and the cafeteria had left over decorations from a recent (double) baby shower!

In each of our internal debrief discussions we kept coming back to the same theme: “This company is really, really special.”

As market sizes go, this one is massive. Two-thirds of the adult population in the US — 64M working adults — do not have a four-year degree. Yet, by 2020 it’s estimated that some post-secondary education will be required for 65% of jobs and a four-year degree will be required for 35% of jobs.

Many ambitious, hard working adults working in industries such as retail, hospitality, and food service desire the additional education to set themselves up for career advancement, but lack the resources and support to complete a college degree program. Likewise, Fortune 2000 employers are usually extremely supportive of ongoing education and career advancement opportunities for their employees, but wrestle with the staff, systems, and processes to manage these programs at scale. Given our experience with other incredible teams in the Learning and HR markets, including LinkedIn, Cornerstone OnDemand, Instructure, and Glint, we believe these market conditions create the perfect storm for a smart software platform. Enter Guild.

The Guild solution is a game changer. Through Guild’s platform and marketplace, employers like Chipotle, Taco Bell, and KFC can offer their employees hand-picked degree options from vetted university programs, apply for grants, scholarships and corporate tuition assistance plans, and track ROI on student attendance and results. For employees, Guild centralizes and helps manage the necessary paperwork needed to apply for a degree program and pairs each student with a coach and mentor, eliminating the cumbersome process that often derails program adoption and graduation rates. Guild’s seamless platform and the team’s deep expertise and background in education has enabled it to become the gold standard in offering education as a benefit. Guild has the potential to be transformative to their employer customers, the employee students, and society more broadly.

A world-class team. Rachel Carlson, the founder & CEO of Guild brings a unique combination of Stanford GSB analytics and focus, empathy and passion that she honed in the Obama administration, and an entrepreneurial edge from working with multiple startups. Along with her co-founder Britt, they’ve attracted a super star team that we’re excited to join. Thanks to Britt, Chandler, Mae, Rachel, Jessica, Kendra, Terence, Chris and Zoe, as well as the great existing investors and advisors already involved, for allowing us to share this journey with you. It’s going to be fun!