Springboard raises $31 million to expand its mentor-guided education platform to more geographies

Springboard, an online education platform that provides upskilling and reskilling training courses to people looking to learn in-demand roles, has raised $31 million in a new financing round as it looks to expand to more geographies.

The Series B financing round for the San Francisco-headquartered startup was led by investment firm Telstra Ventures. Vulcan Capital and SJF Ventures, as well as existing investors Costanoa Ventures, Pearson Ventures, Reach Capital, International Finance Corporation (IFC), 500 Startups, Blue Fog Capital, and Learn Capital also participated in the round, said the seven-year-old startup, which has raised more than $50 million to date.

Springboard offers a range of six-month and nine-month courses on data-science, artificial intelligence, design, coding, analytics and other upskilling subjects to help students and those already employed somewhere land better jobs.

The startup, which expanded to India last year, also connects students with mentors — more than 50% of whom are working at Fortune 500 companies — to guide them better navigate professional decisions, Vivek Kumar, Managing Director at Springboard, told TechCrunch in an interview.

Startups offering upskilling courses have gained traction in recent years as companies across the globe complain about not being satisfied with a large portion of the undergraduate students who are applying for a job with them.

In many markets like India, one of the global hubs for tech consulting firms, it has become a common sight for several major IT giants to spend months in retraining their new hires. Moreover, the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in elimination of tens of thousands of additional jobs.

“India is witnessing one of its toughest challenges owing to the recent job losses that have impacted a large section of the workforce. It is therefore imperative for displaced workers to make the difficult transition into new, in-demand careers,” said Parul Gupta, co-founder of Springboard, in a statement.

To make its courses reach more students, Springboard has adjusted the price points of its offering for each geography. A nine-month course that sells for around $7,500 in the U.S., for instance, is priced at $3,300 in India, explained Kumar.

The startup, which also works with financial partners to allow students to pay for the course in instalments and at no interest, refunds the tuition fee those who are unable to secure a better job, said Kumar.

Which brings us to one of the biggest milestones of Springboard: Fewer than 0.02% of its students have ever asked for a refund. Kumar said most students who enroll for a course on its platform end up with a job that pays them 25% higher at the very least and it goes as high as 100%. About 94% of eligible students land a job within six months, the startup said.

Springboard already serves students in more than 80 countries, but it plans to officially launch in more places beyond the U.S. and India. It also plans to deploy the fresh capital to expand its course offerings and deepen its partnership with universities and employers.