The talent gap is a lot like a ditch. Worldwide, employers regularly talk about skills shortages and recruitment crises, yet more than 250 million Generation Z graduates are struggling to find jobs; In an emerging economy, youth unemployment averages 36%. The problem is a discrepancy: there is no shortage of talent, but it is difficult to find talent with the right skills.
Enter Qureos, a UAE-based education technology start-up, announcing a $ 3 million pre-seed funding round today. “Our ambition is to accelerate 100 million careers,” said co-founder Alexander Apure, who pitched the idea as “Learn to earn.”
Qureos has started with a focus on three areas of high demand skills, especially for employers: product management, digital marketing and data analysis. In each case, they have seized it, despite obstacles we can scarcely imagine. ” Everyone usually has to work four to five hours for five days or more.
The courses are delivered by mentors recruited by Qureos from private sector leaders such as Google, Paypal, Amazon and Cisco, who provide tailored education with the skills needed to develop employees. Each student completes the course through project work surrounding a case study, which is graded by the Qureos team; Once they have done so, they are entitled to work on the platform, where employers hire full-time workers and contractors.
It’s a win-win setup for employees and employers alike, Epur argues. “Education and recruitment are disconnected,” he said. “Qureos aims to leverage its unique position in connecting these two markets through an empirical learning community where emerging talent can learn from industry experts and gain experience through business-led recruitment teams.”
Students, or “students” as Qureos calls them, acquire exactly the skills employers want – because the course content is delivered by those employers’ mentors – as well as the opportunity to instantly monetize their education. Employers, meanwhile, gain access to a pool of talent with specific skills, helping Qureos streamline their application process, significantly reducing their time and hiring costs.
Qureos is not the only adtech company that can provide online training and education, but Epure argues that most video-based courses suffer from very low completion rates. In contrast, he said, Qureos’s project-based work and a combination of useful learning from expert consultants have seen completion rates above 75%. “The lessons our apprentices get is six times more than what they get by just watching videos,” he said. “The success rate of their work, whether through Curios or outside, is twice as high.”
For Qureos’ own success prospects, its business model is built in two constituencies. Apprentices pay a fee to take its courses – the average cost is about $ 20, although students in developing economics usually pay a lower fee. Also, businesses recruited through the platform pay a subscription charge for access to the talent pool.
Ultimately, of course, that model will depend on the company’s ability to attract large numbers of students and prove to employers that they are equipping them with the right skills. Qureos’ ambition to kickstart 100 million careers reflects the source of the business as an emotional game for its founders, who focus on social outcomes as well as commercial success.
Nevertheless, the business got off to a strong start. Founded last August alone, it has already recruited 25,000 apprentices from more than 120 countries around the world – two-thirds of whom have taken multiple courses – as well as mentors from more than 40 companies. Each consultant is paid a fee for their work with the platform, although Curios says many are more focused on their desire to give something back to the industry and society.
This rapid growth rate is based on the interest of a wide range of business investors, who started their life as part of the Dubai Future Accelerator Program. The pre-seed round announced today will be led by two early-stage venture capital firms, Dubai-based COTU Ventures and New York-based Coal Capital. The round, however, saw the participation of global and regional investors, including Globivest, Plutus 21 Capital, Dubai Angel Investors and Aljayani Venture Capital, as well as a number of prominent angel investors.
Mehrid Yaghmai, another co-founder of Curios, argues that the platform could level the playing field as young people compete in the global job market. “We want to democratize access to the labor market,” he said. “I see a world where there are no boundaries and only a map for employers.”
Osama Nini, a third member of the Curios founding team, points out the value of education by expert advisors. “There’s an old saying that those who can, and those who can’t,” he says. “We want to turn it around.”