NewCampus wants to train the first-time managers within Southeast Asia’s tech giants


Ladder leaning on white puffy cloud on blue studio background, white surface, drop shadow
Image Credits: PM Images (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

The tech boom in Southeast Asia isn’t just seeding a wave of new entrepreneurs building the next generation of unicorns, it’s also ushering young talent into the roles of first-time managers. And NewCampus, a Singapore-based startup co-founded by Will Fan and Fei Yao, announced today that it has raised millions of dollars to help coming of age companies train their maturing workforce to help them grow into those new, larger roles.

NewCampus is an online, live learning platform that hopes to train rising managers within hyper-growth organizations. Its leadership “sprints” focus on topics like retaining knowledge, and what goes into curating a safe environment for teams. The company was part of SuperCharger Ventures’ inaugural edtech accelerator, and today announced that it has attracted millions of dollars in investor interest.

The startup has closed a seed financing round of $2.5 million in a round led by Juvo Ventures’ Maia Sharpley. Other investors include Zanichelli Venture, M Venture Partners, 27V, Pavan Katepalli, the former chief learning officer at Trilogy Education, along with existing investors SOSV and 500 Startups.

While first describing itself as a membership gym for learning experiences, the 2019-founded startup raised capital to further invest in its latest iteration: an up-skilling platform for SMBs.

Currently, NewCampus builds content in-house, and then asks industry experts to come in and add in their flair of expertise. Users are expected to dedicate between four to five hours a week for work, with 90 minutes of that time devoted to live, instructor-led workshops. The material differs from other online programs by focusing on more philosophical skills, like how to create a safe environment for teams or how to retain knowledge, instead of topics like like Finance 101. Currently, its content looks more general, serving the emerging manager in tech, not the first-time manager handling a fintech startup during a pivot.

NewCampus offers live classes for first-time managers. Image Credits: NewCampus

There’s a lot of workforce training tools on the market right now: Udemy, BetterUp, Skillshare, Udacity; but NewCampus is confident that it can win by selling to a market it believes is underserved: Southeast Asia.

NewCampus targets companies that have a presence of between 500 to 1,000 people in the Southeast Asia region. Fan mentioned how companies like Grab, GoJek and Carousell still turn to local trainers in countries like Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore — giving his company an opportunity to come in and bring more advanced pedagogy and branding.

While India’s frenzy of hiring and retaining talent is not to be missed, the co-founder says that the startup is looking in other, less-crowded markets.

“[The customer] may be a 600-person fintech company with an HQ in Hong Kong, but their management team is sitting in Hong Kong, their sales teams in Sydney, Melbourne, their dev team is in Indonesia and their sales team is in Philippines, and already that breakdown of managing remote teams is sophisticated and nuanced in its own way,” Fan said.

Yao likened the momentum around improving diversity and inclusion efforts in the United States to the momentum around enhancing cross-cultural communication in Southeast Asia, “because of how fragmented the market is and how fast teams are growing across the region.” She added that a lot of United States-based upskilling products “don’t speak to the rest of the world,” which gives NewCampus a chance to curate an instructor pool, time zone focus and product for its end users.

Smaller organizations can buy annual subscriptions for their managers to take general content courses, while larger organizations can pay for in-house programs that NewCampus will then manage and run themselves. As with any B2B business model, selling to an institution versus an individual appears to be more lucrative over time when the startup starts serving hundreds and thousands of managers. However, Yao stressed that NewCampus’ strategic advantage is more in helping upskill smaller organizations.

Who really benefits from reskilling?

“It actually really does serve underserved businesses that don’t have access to traditional training facilities at those price points,” Yao said. “At the same time, a lot of the companies that we’re currently working with are more familiar with keeping something that’s within their company, it’s a bit of a balance of both.” The split between individual programming and in-house programming is currently 50/50.

Currently about 80% of NewCampus’ learners and 60% of its instructors identify as women.

Testing the tester

The test for NewCampus is if it can scale its content to be effective and inclusive of hundreds of thousands of emerging managers. This will require the company to niche down its content to specific managerial paths depending on profession, or grow bigger and serve seasoned managers as well.

NewCampus is pursuing university accreditation, which suggests that it sees itself eventually becoming a replacement for traditional degrees. Fan likened it to how fintech startups acquired banking licenses half a decade ago, in an attempt to build brand awareness and trust.

Per a number of investors who had seen NewCampus’ pitch deck, the university licensing move is a nod to NewCampus’ initial bet: that it could become an alternative to the MBA.

Will edtech empower or erase the need for higher education?

The issue with modern business schools is that much of the utility in higher-ed isn’t the content, but the network and brand name making its way to a student’s resume. While NewCampus may thus lean on accreditation as differentiation, it really needs to lean on different ways to signal to society that its content — and consumers of its content — matters. Yao thinks that investors may be off on NewCampus’ interpretation of replacing the business school degree.

“They’re thinking of big names, like Stanford and Harvard,” she said. “We’re taking on the vertical of business education as a whole, the people who come to us, they’re not the people who haven’t gotten into Harvard, they’re 100% the people who had never considered Harvard to begin with.”

NewCampus’ team. Image Credits: NewCampus

More TechCrunch

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

1 day ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

1 day ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo