Business Upskilling Company Section4 Raises $30 Million

By Annie Baker ● March 23, 2021
  • Section4 — the leading platform in business upskilling — announced a $30 million Series A led by General Catalyst with participation from Learn Capital and GSV Ventures. These are the details.

Section4 — the leading platform in business upskilling — announced a $30 million Series A led by General Catalyst with participation from Learn Capital and GSV Ventures. And the total funding to date is now $37 million, including previous investments by Jeff Bewkes and Tim Armstrong, former CEOs of Time Warner and AOL, respectively. And Larry Bohn and Paul Sagan will join the board of Section4 representing General Catalyst along with independent director Katherine Dillon.

The deal had closed as Section4 announced the expansion of its faculty with professors from NYU Stern, Kellogg, Stanford University, and Berkeley Haas. And Section4’s financing will accelerate the expansion of Section4’s curriculum for the firm’s 10,000+ alumni and the development of its enterprise platform.

The business skills needed to win in the new economy are rapidly changing. And most firms are suffering from widening business skill gaps inside their organizations. In February 2020, McKinsey had released a study on “How Companies are Reskilling to Address Talent Gaps.” And the research findings detailed that nearly nine in ten executives and managers say their organizations either face skill gaps already or expect gaps to develop within the next five years.

Section4’s courses are delivered as “sprints” – intensive, immediately applicable online courses that combine synchronous lectures and community with pre-recorded video lessons and case studies. And sprints are organized into “stacks” – a comprehensive collection of courses by functional topic. Section4’s first 3 stacks are for leaders in Strategy, Marketing and Product Management. Section4 faculty are premier instructors in graduate business education, and many have been recognized as the “Best Instructor” at their respective institutions.

In the past 12 months, Section4 has enrolled more than 10,000 students in 97 countries worldwide. And the students and alumni enrolled represent over 4,000 businesses including more than half of Fortune 100 companies. Over 33% of students taking Section4 classes are c-level executives. Section4 is educating employees from companies including Airbnb, Boston Consulting Group, Coca-Cola, Google, Netflix, Nike, Procter & Gamble, Salesforce, Unilever, and Visa at manager, director and executive levels.

KEY QUOTES:

“The Section4 platform was created to offer millions, vs. thousands, of aspiring professionals the opportunity to learn from the world’s premier business school instructors at a fraction of the cost and friction of the traditional MBA. There are hundreds of thousands of firms looking for a platform to upskill their workforce, and we aim to fill that void with coursework and instruction that offers unprecedented value and accessibility. 88% of students have applied what they’ve learned within their organizations within three months of completing their Section4 course.”

— Section4 Founder Scott Galloway

“Collectively we’ve known Scott for several decades and have seen him time and again envision the way a challenge can be met with innovation and then just make it happen. And he’s done it across industries. For this turn, Scott, Greg, and the Section4 team are rethinking how people skill and reskill throughout their careers. The solution has to be engaging and dynamic and this is the right team to build it.”

— Larry Bohn, Managing Director, General Catalyst

“Elite business education until now has been available to only a select few, and usually at the start of their career. But mid-career is the ‘make or break’ stage, when updated skills and competencies are needed to really accelerate career growth and organizational impact. And there is an urgent, global need for this kind of business education, demonstrated by the fact that 45% of our students are from outside of the US.”

“With this additional capital, we will rapidly expand our direct-to-consumer offering with more courses from the world’s best business school professors and industry practitioners. We will also expand our subscription-based enterprise platform for firms that want to upskill hundreds or thousands of employees at the same time. Our platform will provide the skills boost needed for a thriving career in the growth economy.”

— Greg Shove, CEO of Section4