Start-Up Raises $20 Million To Take Its Alternative MBA Global

A London-based tech-ed start-up that launched its first campus just two years ago, has just raised $US14 million to help take its alternative MBA program to new markets in the United States.

The company has raised raised $US14.1 million in a Series A round led by Balderton Capital, with Hillsven Capital and Octopus Ventures also participating.

The company, which originally started in Israel, has three sites in London in Shoreditch, Soho and Liverpool Street and seven across Israel.

In London alone, Jolt is now bigger than London Business School in terms of student numbers, with enrolments growing 25% month-on-month while being 18 times cheaper.

Jolt was founded in 2015 by entrepreneurs Roei Deutsch, Nitzan Cohen-Arazi and Nadav Leshem.

Disillusioned by the current higher education system bubble and falling student numbers, the trio used past experiences in alternative training and education programs to launch Jolt’s live video courses marketplace in 2016.

A year later, Jolt opened its first student campus in Tel-Aviv, providing affordable and flexible alternative diplomas to the expensive, stilted MBAs offered by traditional educational institutions.

Each of Jolt’s campuses provide high-end, live video lessons and workshops run by the very best global business leaders from the likes of Google, Netflix and Tesla.

Its courses are aimed at professionals with undergraduate degrees and at least two years’ experience, or three years experience without a degree, who have typically reached a point in their career when they want to learn new skills, move up the career ladder, or move into a new industry but do not want to put their lives on hold for learning.

Jolt CEO Roei Deutsh said higher education ws in a bubble with a staggering $2.3 trillion is invested every year in something that works for a small minority of people.

“Data shows more than three quarters of graduates believe many higher education programs are no longer fit for purpose; trust and confidence in academia has nosedived in recent years… Society is clearly ready for an alternative – an alternative that will happen, with or without us.” he said.

Jolt believes a true alternative to the current higher education system would have the networking opportunity, credentials and opportunity to learn life skills that come from completing traditional academic degrees and will not simply be an online version of the lecture hall and seminar room.

Instead of investing in costly infrastructure, Jolt builds interactive, engaging futuristic classrooms within existing co-working spaces. It uses technology to connect lecturers from all over the world to its students, via live video and the Jolt app.

Lessons are offered outside of working hours, meaning students can complete their studies without having to cut their earnings, and all of this means Jolt is cheaper than traditional higher education courses.

Jolt NAMBA (Not an MBA) program costs £175 a month. This is more than six times cheaper than traditional UK MBAs, which average a whopping £30,000 and a staggering 18 times cheaper than London Business School.

This is before you factor in the loss of earnings caused by traditional, inflexible two or one-year courses.

With Jolt, students only accumulate (and pay for) the classes they need to do to build their own diploma and if they don’t want to complete the full program, they don’t have to. The lessons additionally revolve around the practical application of skills, debates and discussions, role-playing and other interactive tasks, making them more immediately useful in a student’s day-to-day career.

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Ben Ready founded MBA News in 2014 and is the Managing Editor. He is a former business and finance journalist with Australian Associated Press (AAP) and Dow Jones Newswires in London. Ben completed his MBA in 2012 and was awarded the QUT GMAA Entrepreneurship Prize. He is also the founder and Managing Director of RGC Media & Mktng (rgcmm.com.au).

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