Euan Blair’s apprenticeship company, Multiverse, made a pre-tax loss of £14.2m last year – the sixth straight year of losses since the son of the former prime minister set it up in 2016.
Despite the losses – including £10.9m in 2021 and just over £5m in 2020 – the company was awarded the coveted tech “unicorn” status when it was valued at £1.4bn in fundraising driven by US venture capital firms in June 2022.
That investment valued Blair’s stake in the company at an estimated £420m, far more than his father Tony’s reported £60m fortune.
Multiverse, which uses automated predictive software to match apprentices with companies based on their aptitude and attitude rather than grades, reported revenues of £27.3m for the year to 31 March 2022, in accounts filed with Companies House on Wednesday.
That was up from £10m in the previous year, and means the company is valued at more than 50 times its sales.
The so-called “edtech” company said it expected to claim tax credits of £2.7m against 2022 losses to use against future profits. It also expected to claim £2m in the previous year.
Multiverse matches school leavers with more than 300 employers including Google, Facebook, Morgan Stanley and Depop, and provides on-the-job training tailored to the needs of employees, as well as personal coaching and extracurricular activities and societies akin to those at university. It employed 312 people at the time of the accounts being filed.
The training is funded by a 0.5% levy placed on companies with an annual payroll bill of more than £3m. This can be spent on their own training costs or transferred to other organisations, such as Multiverse.
Blair claims that some young people have turned down places at Oxford to join his scheme. His business, co-founded with his friend Sophie Adelman, offers what he claims is “a genuine, credible alternative that can compete with university”.
Tony Blair was elected prime minister in 1997 after promising that his three priorities would be “education, education, education”, and he later set a target of getting 50% of school leavers into university. The target was not hit until 2019.
But Euan Blair argues that the nation’s “obsession with the academic as a marker of potential and talent” is holding back people from minority groups and failing to serve the needs of employers in a digital age.
Euan Blair, who studied ancient history at the University of Bristol before going on to Yale, has said he “didn’t love studying”, but when he was growing up, going to university was seen as the only route to a top job. He says he hit upon the idea of setting up a training provider after his first job, at the investment bank Morgan Stanley.
Last year he bought a five-storey townhouse in west London for a reported £22m. The seven-bedroom residence, which he shares with his wife, Suzanne Ashman, and their two children, features a two-storey “iceberg” basement with an indoor pool, gym and multi-car garage.
A spokesperson for Multiverse said: “We’re at the forefront of growing the number of apprenticeship opportunities in both the UK and the US, doubling the number of apprentices we’re training, expanding our geographic reach, and increasing our team of world-class coaches.
“We have made significant investments across all teams at Multiverse to set ourselves up for greater scale in the year ahead. We’re focusing our efforts on supporting a rapidly growing number of apprentices, raising awareness, and building an outstanding alternative to university through apprenticeships.”