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Although the rate of layoffs could slow down, and the ongoing slump is pushing companies to become more strategic about how they expand. One way to stay stealthy and lean? Have a continually learning squad, and equally agile.

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Degreed lets employers achieve just that by introducing workers to learning opportunities to develop new skills. Today’s ed-tech startup announced it’s raised $32 million in venture capital in a round led by Owl Ventures, bringing up its known total to $182 million. The firm was founded in the year 2012.

Degreed is at its core an upskilling platform that trains existing employees to improve their current skill set. It does this by matching employees with lessons around various topics, such as remote work or coronavirus. Degreed makes money for customers through a monthly fee and is free for staff.

“It keeps people skilled and employable; no one should become irrelevant in the future because they lack the proper skills,” CEO Chris McCarthy said.

Degreed is now setting up a work versatility tool following its acquisition of Adepto. Based on current qualifications, users will look at career openings to see what they need to focus on to get a new job. Today’s funding is directly dedicated to the job development tool of the organization, partially because it is smaller than previous rounds, McCarthy says.

Like many ed-tech companies, Degreed said the past six months included unprecedented customer engagement; between April and May of this year alone, nearly one in seven degreed accounts was active.

The uptick could be a mixture of more people looking to become invaluable and more people having more time in their hands to work on habits. According to co-founder David Blake, a high commitment could also be due to uncertainty. The goal is that people will be able to maintain their jobs and be “future proof against anything on the horizon.”

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Several talents became more in demand than others. Contact has increased by 15.5%, according to Degreed, and concept thought has decreased by 12.8%. Other topics that saw spikes in engagement include crisis management, resilience, mental health, and management of change.

It raises an interesting question: Can ed-tech teach non-quantifiable abilities, such as vulnerability? CEO McCarthy says that, in the future, soft and flexible skills will be “essential.” Like any company in the ed-tech sector, Degreed needs to prove its effectiveness before it brings success.

Users will go through a process called the Degree Ability Credential, where research is reviewed, checked, and evaluated by data scientists, an expert jury, and machine learning to provide a “rating.”


Degreed has linked more than 4 million people to over 250 organizations, such as NASA and Cisco, so far. Users also need to provide references to two individuals who have first-hand knowledge of the skills and can vouch for the accuracy, per company.

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