Guild Raises $21 Million to Transform Corporate Tuition Assistance and Increase College Access for Frontline Employees

Career Climbers / 7th September 2017

Guild, the leading education benefits company, today announced that it has closed a $21 million Series B financing round led by Bessemer Ventures, investors in HR, education and cloud standouts including LinkedIn, Skype, 2U, Instructure, Box, Twilio and SendGrid. The most recent investment brings Guild’s total funding to $31.5 million, which ranks Guild as one of the most significant investments in a female-founded company this year. Redpoint Ventures, Harrison Metal, and Cowboy Ventures also joined the financing round.

Since launching in 2015, Guild has partnered with a diverse set of employers — including Chipotle, DaVita, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and the Denver Public Schools — to transform corporate tuition assistance and increase college access for working adults.  “As the labor market tightens, employers are investing over $22 billion annually in traditional tuition assistance programs,” said Rachel Carlson, co-founder and CEO of Guild Education. “Our platform empowers employers to make smarter education investments and measure the positive return on investments in their workforce – it’s ‘Education as a Benefit.'”

Guild’s platform is designed to make going back to school easier for all employees. By enabling employees to earn college credit for on-the-job training, Guild creates pathways from management training or GED programs into degree granting programs at nonprofit universities that enable professional and economic mobility. Additionally, Guild’s deferred tuition model eliminates the financial barriers of traditional tuition reimbursement programs. Guild works directly with employers to cover tuition costs, rather than expecting frontline employees to front the bill while they wait for reimbursement.  

Guild’s universities are expanding their impact through Guild’s network. “Guild has brought together a network of leading employers and innovative, nonprofit universities dedicated to advancing the education and career goals of working adults across America,” said Gary Brahm, Chancellor of Brandman University. “This model provides employees the flexibility they need to select an institution that best serves their learning style vs. a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. And, through Guild, Brandman benefits from the opportunity to serve a broader, national group of students.”

“In defining the education benefits space, Guild is pioneering a massive, new category of benefits for Fortune 1000 employers that reflects the changing world of work, and the rapidly evolving relationship between businesses and their employees,” said Byron Deeter of Bessemer Venture Partners who will join Guild’s board. “Employees value, above all, economic opportunity and career development. Guild’s unique approach is enabling HR and L&D leaders to translate meaningful investments in people into measurable and significant business outcomes.”

Guild’s platform allows companies to easily run their education benefits program and track outcomes data — including recruitment, retention, and promotion — to measure the return on educational benefits. Last week, Chipotle released data finding that employees who enrolled in education programs were nearly two times as likely to stay with the company after nine months, with 89% retention rates. These employees were also more than twice as likely to receive a promotion compared to their peers. Across the board, Guild’s employers are now seeing the positive ROI of investing in their employees’ education.

“At Chipotle, our people are the vital component to our long term strategic success. Expanding our employees’ skills base and helping them reach their educational aspirations is an essential component of that strategy,” said Sam Worobec, Director of Training at Chipotle. “Guild’s unique approach to education benefits has not only allowed us to carry out that mission, but also led to meaningful gains in employee retention, promotion and satisfaction.”

ABOUT GUILD EDUCATION
Guild Education is transforming the way employers offer Education as a Benefit to their employees. Guild’s technology makes offering education benefits and tuition reimbursement an easy choice for leading companies, with a platform that helps HR leaders turn their education cost centers into a positive ROI. Guild’s diverse network of online, nonprofit universities offers a range of programs from GEDs through bachelor’s and master’s degrees, along with advising and retention coaching to help each student navigate the worlds of work and college. To learn more about Guild, visit www.GuildEducation.com

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