CEO & Co-Founder: Rachel Carlson // CO-Founder: Brittany Stich
Co-Founders Carlson and Stich started Guild Education — a for profit company with a double bottom line. The company identifies an education gap among working adults:
- 30% of working adults without a high school diploma
- 70% of the total US population without college degree.
Amid this landscape, Guild Education’s platform bridges the tuition benefits programs of fortune 1000 companies with non profit universities and colleges — in what they refer to as an Education as a Benefit model. Their platform offers employees access to personalized, flexible, low(er) cost, quality education. Per the Guild Education website, the attention to employee development leads to greater employee satisfaction and, “improved retention for employers” (https://www.guildeducation.com/about_us). The full suite of platform services include guidance, coaching, financial options, tax considerations and finding the ideal career path based on employee experience, interest, past education/ training credits, and the employer’s tuition benefit plan:
Rachel Carlson is a Stanford MBA Graduate and holds a Masters degree in Innovation and Higher Education from Stanford Graduate School of Education. Since then she has been active in the education landscape both as a contributor and founder and CEO of one other company, called Student Blueprint
Brittany Stich is also a Stanford MBA Graduate and holds a Masters degree in Education from Stanford Graduate School of Education. Her professional career has included teaching at a Bay Area Charter School and Program Director in Education Management.
FUNDING & BOARD:
Board and advisory members’ backgrounds include big media, ivy league alum, tech execs and venture capitalists. The company is in later stage series C funding, and has just secured a round of $40 million. To date they have raised $71.5 million. (https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/guild-education#section-overview). Money has come from 16 VC including a slew of recognizable investors
While the company is by no means without competition in this space (Lynda, Udemy et al), they have considerable momentum in landing some major corporate partners for their services.
There is a documented, significant gender divide in venture funding for companies founded by women. Between 2010 and 2015 just 10% of global VC funding went to women led startups (https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/31/women-in-tech-are-still-an-undervalued-pipeline-for-innovation/). I have to say this is utterly deflating to know as a woman in technology. But when one considers Guild Education’s specific market position — enabling people to further their education where it previously seemed out of reach, while also saving companies money by decreasing turnover — it is encouraging that there are some notable and heavy-hitting VC’s invested in the success of this women-founded and run venture.