Web3 learning and talent startup Neol raises $5.2 million

London-based startup Neol has raised $5.2 million in seed funding — its first outside capital — to build a learning and talent platform that powers Web3 and wants to take On Deck like McKinsey.

What does Newell do?

Neol runs online training programs. It is similar to on deck, Although rather than targeting founders and startup operators, the design will target young and creative professionals, as well as mid-level managers involved in corporate innovation. Neol will bring them together to study topics such as sustainability, food systems and the future of mobility – you know, big Issues.

The idea is that the $15,000 to $2,000 company employees will pay to participate in a group will help supplement scholarships for people early in their careers. Companies will also be able to provide financial support to cohorts.

On the talent side, Neol wants to work with the community already assembled to learn to provide on-demand consulting and support services to businesses. For example, if a global fashion brand wants to reimagine their packaging or supply chain to be more sustainable, they can extend a call to the Neol community for ideas.

“The McKinseys of the world are not well suited to working on these kinds of challenges in a way that these kind of community-supported platforms can,” says Neol founder Kerem Alper.

What is Web3 about Neol?

Alber says the longer-term plan is to find more ways to put decision-making and ownership in the hands of platform members – a vision of the decentralized “wealth sharing” that is central to Web3 companies.

In the future, this will mean allowing community members to build their own groups and create a token or some kind of Neol coin. People can be rewarded with tokens for doing things that benefit the platform, such as bringing great talent into a consulting project with a company or teaching a great class to a group.

Alper gives an example of how this might be different from an ordinary university, where a teacher’s only motivation to continue teaching might be the brand of that school or the quality of the students there.

At Web3 Token University, the same teacher will be financially rewarded for helping them build a richer academic community, beyond just their salary.

What is the shape of the market?

  • Neol believes it is entering the market for e-learning and freelance work, two markets set to grow rapidly in the coming years. Almost all of the e-learning market is supposed to grow 24% annually until 2028 – making it among the The world’s fastest growing sectors.
  • And as competition for talent continues to be fierce, companies are looking for creative sources of plug-and-play talent, especially when this is coordinated. This is an area where Web3 proponents say Web3 can really shine, especially when it comes to sharing the fruits of that work with an entire community.

Who is investing in Neol?

  • The tour was co-led by kyu Collective, a network of creative companies backed by the second largest ad agency in Japan, and Global Ventures, the most active VC firm in the Middle East and Africa.
  • Other co-investors: Tony Shaw, CEO of DoorDash, LearnStart, FJ Labs and Paribu Ventures.

What’s next for Neul?

  • Now Neol focuses on Building its product, brand and partnerships in the UK, Europe and the Middle East, but also wants to expand into markets in the Global South.

sifted take

Community and cohort-led learning is interesting – just take a look at how popular On Deck has been in recent years or the funding that’s been allocated Scott Galloway Division 4. And Neol seems to have chosen a niche within that, which could work to her advantage.

Alber insists that the decentralized and symbolic aspect of the business is key, but on a larger scale, it remains to be seen whether this is something that really motivates talent, or whether the organic pull of community alone will be a powerful enough tool for retention.

Eleanor Warnock is Sifted Deputy Editor and co-host of The Sifted Podcast (Listen over here). She tweets from Tweet embed