Empowering graduates and lifelong learners with in-demand digital skills.

Founders Omar de Silva (Co-CEO) Jack Hylands (Co-CEO)
Sector Higher Education
Location London, UK
Impact Enabling employer university collaboration at scale

2019 Jack and Omar launch FourthRev. Impressive early validation across Australian universities.

2020 Emerge leads FourthRev’s pre-seed. FourthRev launches university partnerships in UK and US.

2021 FourthRev and the LSE launch Career Accelerator. Raises $4.16M seed round, led by Reach Capital.

2022 Raises $11.2 Series A, led by Educapital.

What is it?

FourthRev combines the unique strengths of universities and employers, bridging the gap between the actual training being delivered and the skills that employers are looking for.  Accelerating the pathway for meaningful skills transformation, FourthRev is a true win-win-win for students, universities and employers.

Why we invested

The founders

FourthRev’s story begins in Australia. Co-founders Jack Hylands and Omar de Silva met at Ducere Business School, where they were responsible for setting up the Business MBA and BA degrees. Jack then joined Australia’s largest university, RMIT, and established RMIT Future Skills, to provide courses focused on digital skills, in partnership with industry. Witnessing first-hand the transformational power of employer-university collaboration (EUC) – particularly in the context of the global talent shortage – Jack and Omar created FourthRev to scale these EUC opportunities for learners across the globe.

The problem

The widening mismatch between what higher education (HE) provides and what industry needs has left us facing a gaping talent shortage. In fact, by 2030, this global shortage of skilled talent is projected to result in an $8.5 trillion loss in foregone annual revenues. Simultaneously, the world of work is changing at an unprecedented rate and 1.2 billion employees worldwide will be affected by automation technologies over the coming decade. Yet, it typically takes more than 18 months to develop a new undergraduate course – and the typical refresh cycle for courses is close to five years. Consequently, under the status quo, the HE system is failing its students and has been unable to keep up with industry’s demand for skilled talent.

The solution

Delivering up-to-date and industry-relevant education for learners across all demographics has never been more crucial. FourthRev works closely with leading universities such as LSE, and software companies such as Salesforce, Tableau and AWS, to co-design and deliver such courses. These courses offer innovative pathways to acquiring in-demand skills and industry certificates, all while allowing students to earn credit toward a degree.

FourthRev’s offer has two models: co-created programmes, licensed by universities; and career accelerators, acting as direct pathways into high-growth digital jobs. This falls directly into two of our four key investment areas:

1.Cost-effective and flexible pathways into employment
2.Improve access and outcomes for university students

The opportunity

Employer-university collaboration (EUC) is not only of critical importance in the digital age, but is also a rapidly growing market, projected to exceed $74bn by 2030. This demand is driven by i) universities’ increased focus on employability outcomes, and ii) the power of technology to enable the implementation of EUC at scale. Course co-creation is a key channel for EUC – and yet it currently only exists on a very small scale, across a few institutions. FourthRev is well-positioned to not only address this demand for EUC, but to do so at scale, catalysing the untapped potential of graduates and lifelong learners across the globe.

The impact

“Thanks to FourthRev, the knowledge and skills of our academics are accessible through more than just longer courses and degrees. By providing access to our knowledge and resources through short career-oriented courses, professionals and businesses in the region can move into the new era with a future fit workforce.” Lawrence Pratchett, pro-vice chancellor at UC

“A very beneficial course which gave me 100% encouragement to develop my career. I especially enjoyed analytics and visualising insights using Tableau.” Anon. Student

Quote from the Founders

“Emerge has been there from the very start. Even though we were not actually looking to raise, we still partnered with them because there was such a clear alignment with our mission at FourthRev. They immediately understood our vision and have continually supported us at every stage towards it. Emerge’s deep expertise in the education sector delivers tremendous value across strategy, partnerships and funding rounds. Emerge introduced us indirectly to our lead seed investor and directly to our lead Series A investor.

They have an incredible higher education network and set up thought leadership groups on employer-university collaboration and university revenue diversification, through which we were able to tap into dozens of potential customers. Everyone we spoke to was immediately impressed that Emerge were backing us. Their community of world-class edtech operators has been a source of immense market insight. Beyond that, a few of them also invested in us, one of whom, Craig Pines (CEO at Amerigo), became our chairman. Having built and successfully exited a similar business to ours, his experience has been instrumental in developing our go-to-market approach.” – Omar de Silva, co-CEO, FourthRev.

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