Kiwi tech skills startup NextWork pockets $2.3 million pre-Seed raise

- April 22, 2024 2 MIN READ
Amber Joseph
NextWork founder Amber Joseph
A New Zealand startup offering to train 1000 students in the entry-level AWS certification for free has raised $2.3 million in pre-Seed funding

The round for NextWork was led by Kiwi VC GD1 with support from Blackbird, Icehouse, Phase One Ventures and the founders of Eucalyptus.

The Wellington-based online education startup has set out to upskill workers with tech talents and is offering the platform globally.

Founder Amber Joseph said adult learners looking to acquire new skills also have to deal with competing priorities such as their existing job and children.

“At best, online learning isn’t working; and at worst, it’s stalling our progress as the gap between technology and how well prepared we are to use it is widening,” she said.

“Never before has this type of education been as essential; but there is a lot of ‘noise’ out there and it’s hard for learners to determine which institutions and classes are credible.”

She developed NextWork as a personalised learning platform that puts users in control of how fast they study; and how they prefer to learn. The initial focus is on an entry-level AWS certification course for people with “zero experience” with tech. 

“Our goal is to recruit 1000 participants into tech as soon as possible; and to prove that our approach is the best way to implement learning journeys for non-technical candidates at scale,” Joseph said.

“It’s common for non-technical people to leave after the first hour of training as most courses cater for those already entrenched in the technical consulting industry; they’re simply not built for everyday people.”

Joseph said that beyond certification, people need to better understand issues such as the demands of a new career, industry connections and even help prepping for an interview.

 “All these things are often missing from core offerings already on the market. NextWork has bundled these into an AWS certification course which has historically earned participants an average $20k rise in pay,” she said.

“The first official cohort of students will enable the startup to further refine the learning experience as it prepares to take the offering global.”

GD1 co-managing partner John Kells education is moving quickly to online.

“Many platforms out there claim to offer personalisation or ‘self paced’ learning, but their content doesn’t adjust; and the onus is on the user to simply ‘go slower’,” he said.

“NextWork stands head and shoulders above others in terms of delivering on the promise of a very different learning experience. What they have built has seen users vote with their feet; and GD1 is excited to see them grow their world-class offering.”

Applications for the first cohort of NextWork’s free AWS certification course are now open.It will kick off in the second half of 2024. Join the waitlist here.


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