Every CEO can name the technical skills they most need in their organization. These days, they are most often data engineering and analytics, machine learning, DevOps, and cybersecurity. Leaders bemoan the “skills gap,” the scarcity of qualified applicants, and the intense competition with FAANG for the few candidates who are qualified.

But how, exactly, are workers expected to upskill to become one of these chosen few?

Today, workers are caught between a rock and a hard place: between expensive, inaccessible, and supply-constrained traditional learning options (full-time degrees with live instruction), and online content with much better accessibility but abysmal 3-6% course completion rates and unclear applicability to real-world work. Search any technology /subreddit for discussions such as this one:

It turns out that learning skills remains very hard.

Democratized alternatives to pieces of traditional, “one size fits all” university education are emerging for entry-level workers: coding “boot camps” that enable career switchers and apprenticeships. However, CoRise is for everyone who is already working.

Founded by three early Coursera team members, Julia Stiglitz, Sourabh Bajaj, and Jacob Samuelson, CoRise is a new AI-powered education platform that helps transform analysts into data scientists, engineers into machine learning experts, and traditional infrastructure operations managers into devops engineers. After building a pioneering model for online learning, they’ve rethought the experience with a ground-up focus on professional outcomes.

Their mission is to upskill the world’s workforce, and to break the tradeoff between accessibility and outcomes using technology. Their courses are demand-based, specifically designed against persistent skills gaps in those roles companies can’t hire for. They are taking a three-pronged approach to enable people to learn practical skills while on the job:

  • World-class instructors from cutting-edge organizations teach cohort-based courses organized around practical projects and designed for working professionals
  • Communities of practice for social learning and support
  • Use of automation and AI to deliver personalization, quality, and outcomes at scale

But the proof is in the pudding. Working with learners from 500+ leading companies over the past year, CoRise has proven their approach is 10X better than online content-first learning options. To date, 78% of CoRise learners have completed their courses. [CoRisers] are becoming more confident, delivering real projects, switching jobs, earning raises, and getting promoted.

We are inspired by their progress.

Enterprises are excited to leverage CorRise’s platform. According to a July 2022 McKinsey study, “lack of career advancement” opportunities is now the number one driver of the “Great Resignation,” and thus, strategic workforce upskilling has become not only a prerequisite for growth but a key part of diversity and retention strategy as well.

The skills most demanded by businesses, and thus most richly rewarded, are changing ever-faster. Our existing educational models cannot keep up. At a time when university “teaching capacity gaps limit the amount of talent flowing into the US AI workforce,” we need more innovation. We at Greylock are excited to be co-leading the seed for CoRise along with our friend Deborah Quazzo at GSV, and working with the team to serve the massive professional education market, and their even bigger mission.


Reid Hoffman

Reid builds networks to grow iconic global businesses, as an entrepreneur and as an investor.

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