Blackbird backs jobs edutech startup EntryLevel as it looks to reskill the world

- August 23, 2021 2 MIN READ
Ajay Prakash
EntryLevel founder and CEO Ajay Prakash
Work skills retraining startup EntryLevel is gearing up for a seed raise after pre-seed funding from Blackbird Ventures saw the virtual trainer reskill more than 30,000 people in just six months.

Blackbird tipped $350,000 into the cohort-based edutech startup, which has an ambition to help one billion jobseekers around the world launch their careers through virtual experiences led by industry professionals.

Founder and CEO Ajay Prakash launched the company just 12 months ago, conscious that current training models are not keeping pace with rapid shifts in technology and are often too costly for many people to access.

“The future of work requires a quicker way to reskill people. We saw 195 million jobs disappear from the face of the planet in 2020,” he said.

“COVID certainly played a part in this, but it’s only predicted to get worse. We need programs that people can get through quickly to stay relevant in the current job market.”

Prakash has designed the programs to be more affordable than some other education providers which often charge thousands of dollars for a similar service.

Since launching in early 2021 following the backing from Blackbird, EntryLevel has already helped 33,000 participants giving them access to mentors from the likes of Atlassian, Canva and Wise to guide them towards certification in a range of tech roles.

“Most education providers price out the people that actually struggle with finding employment,” Prakash said.

“We want to make our programs accessible and help as many people as possible find a job they love.”

Blackbird co-founder and Partner Niki Scevak said EntryLevel is taking reskilling workers to a new level.

“To date, the Internet has copied and pasted the content of education online but not the accountability and reflection that is required for true learning to happen,” he said.

“We’re excited to invest in Ajay and the EntryLevel team to help fuse this style of education with recruitment opportunities.”


30-day programs

The 30-day programs are automated and make it easier for participants to work their way through the content and activities. Participants only unlock modules after successfully completing the preceding week’s work, and are rewarded with bonuses for staying on track.

Impressively, EntryLevel is currently seeing 40% of its participants getting certified, compared to completion rates of less than 4% for other freemium online course providers such as Udemy.

EntryLevel’s current skills training is focused on in-demand roles such as product management, growth marketing and data analysis.

Prakash is looking to expand the range in accordance with the skills required by employers in the future and is now looking towards a seed raise of $2 million in the weeks ahead.

Among those who’ve already found jobs are completing EntryLevel courses is George Lake, who was recruited into Moet Protocol immediately after completing the Blockchain Engineering program, despite having no previous expertise in the field.

“I started off the blockchain experience without knowing what a smart contract was. I do have programming experience but the 30-day intensive experience helped me get there quickly with the accountability of a team environment,” he said.

“The EntryLevel team introduced me to Moet Protocol post graduation and I was in the team a few weeks later. I’m amazed as to how fast things can move if you put your mind to it”