@jolt_io – the flexible business school offering affordable alternatives to traditional MBA courses – has raised a further $14.1 million, led by Balderton Capital, to help professionals further their careers through its revolutionary education programs. This takes its total raised to $23.3 million.
Since launching its first campus just two years ago, Jolt now has three sites in London in Shoreditch, Soho and Liverpool Street, seven across Israel and is finalising plans to launch campuses in Manhattan in 2020.
In London alone, Jolt is now bigger than London Business School in terms of student numbers, with enrollments growing 25% month-on-month while being 18 times cheaper.
Jolt offers affordable, flexible business courses for professionals looking to switch or further their careers
Its programs are alternatives to expensive higher education MBA courses from traditional higher education institutions
Lessons and workshops are run out of hours in co-working spaces and are taught by the brightest business brains from Google, Netflix, Tesla and more
An average MBA course costs £30,000 in the UK – Jolt’s full program costs £4,500, or students can choose to only pay for the classes they want
In just two years, Jolt has surpassed London Business School in terms of student numbers while being a staggering 18 times cheaper
The firm has raised a total $23.3 million in funding and will use it to further Jolt’s expansion across the UK, Israel and into the US
Jolt was founded in 2015 by entrepreneurs Roei Deutsch, Nitzan Cohen-Arazi and Nadav Leshem. Disillusioned by the current higher education system bubble and falling student numbers, the trio used past experiences in alternative training and education programs to launch Jolt’s live video courses marketplace in 2016.
A year later, Jolt opened its first student campus in Tel-Aviv, providing affordable and flexible alternative diplomas to the expensive, stilted MBAs offered by traditional educational institutions. Each of Jolt’s campuses provide high-end, live video lessons and workshops run by the very best global business leaders from the likes of Google, Netflix and Tesla.
Its courses are aimed at professionals with undergraduate degrees and at least two years’ experience, or three years experience without a degree, who have typically reached a point in their career when they want to learn new skills, move up the career ladder, or move into a new industry but do not want to put their lives on hold for learning.
“Higher education is in a bubble in which a staggering $2.3 trillion is invested every year in something that works for a small minority of people,” said Jolt CEO Roei Deutsch. “Data shows more than three quarters of graduates believe many higher education programs are no longer fit for purpose; trust and confidence in academia has nosedived in recent years, and the number of applications for MBA courses across most major establishments has fallen.”
“Society is clearly ready for an alternative – an alternative that will happen, with or without us.”
Not just another online video course provider
Jolt believes a true alternative to the current higher education system would have the networking opportunity, credentials and opportunity to learn life skills that come from completing traditional academic degrees and will not simply be an online version of the lecture hall and seminar room.
Instead of investing in costly infrastructure, Jolt builds interactive, engaging futuristic classrooms within existing co-working spaces. It uses technology to connect lecturers from all over the world to its students, via live video and the Jolt app. Lessons are offered outside of working hours, meaning students can complete their studies without having to cut their earnings, and all of this means Jolt is cheaper than traditional higher education courses.
A Jolt NAMBA (Not an MBA) program, for instance, costs £175 a month, or £4,500 in total. This is more than six times cheaper than traditional UK MBAs, which average a whopping £30,000 and a staggering 18 times cheaper than London Business School. This is before you factor in the loss of earnings caused by traditional, inflexible two or one-year courses.
With Jolt, students only accumulate (and pay for) the classes they need to do to build their own diploma and if they don’t want to complete the full program, they don’t have to. The lessons additionally revolve around the practical application of skills, debates and discussions, role-playing and other interactive tasks, making them more immediately useful in a student’s day-to-day career.
This flexibility and price have led to a student satisfaction rate 40% higher than traditional MBAs.
"I chose to study Jolt over traditional educational institutions because I wanted practical skills that I could apply, both to my career and to a side business. I considered doing an MBA, however costs and time were the biggest factors in deciding not to go down that route. I was attracted to Jolt as they had classes that I felt could help make an impact on my career immediately. I have really enjoyed classes that were directly relevant to my career such as project and product management and data analysis/visualisation.”
"Even before I started Jolt, I always knew I also wanted to start my own business. Many of Jolts classes were focused around startups and it was interesting for me to learn about all the different parts that make up a business. In the last few months, I have used some of these concepts to start my own business and when I had the business in mind, I was far more engaged in the ideas that were being taught. Most of the teachers are very experienced in their respective fields and being able to ask them direct questions on my own plans has been great,” Khemarint Son, Treasury Analyst at Starling Bank, said.
"I heard about Jolt from LinkedIn. I looked into it and it offered exactly what I was looking for: a flexible schedule in central locations with courses targeted on actionable knowledge. The Jolters looked like cool people coming straight from the industry with real-life experience and not just academic background."
"The pricing model works well for working professionals as you can freeze your account for a minimal amount if you're away for a long time or have a particularly busy time at work and the range of courses is quite incredible, whether it's marketing, finance, product and personal growth. It offers an all-round curriculum to get you up and running and ready to try your luck in a start-up or upskill you to go for new jobs,” Liat Shtainberg, Head of People Strategy at MagicLab, said.
Since its NAMBA program launched in July, Jolt has gained 10% of the market share in Israel, and 1.5% in the larger UK market.
The latest round of funding has been led by Balderton Capital, alongside Hillsven Capital and Octopus Ventures. Hillsven Capital also took part in Jolt’s pre-Seed round which was led by UpWest in 2016. Jolt’s Series A funding round takes the total raised by the firm to $23.3 million in just three years and the company plans to use the funding to further its expansion across the UK, Israel and into the US.
James Wise, Partner, Balderton Capital said: “There is a rapidly increasing demand from both employees and employers for more adaptive forms of professional education. Jolt combines a powerful tech platform with a deep understanding of how people really learn to fulfil this demand, giving the learner complete control over when, what and with whom they study. We believe Jolt has the potential to help tens of millions of students, who couldn’t otherwise afford the time or cost of a traditional business school, to gain new skills and meet new people”