🦄 Unicorner Startup of the Week: Sphere
 ✍️ Notes From The Editors  
Five months ago, we had the privilege of attending and live-tweeting Y Combinator’s W22 demo day. We followed many of the companies from the batch, including today’s company, Sphere.

We’re excited to be welcomed back to YC this week to cover the S22 demo day. Join us on Twitter on Wednesday and Thursday as we tweet out rapid-fire rundowns on our favorite companies as they’re pitching. If you’re a founder in the S22 cohort, we wish you the best of luck with your demo! 🚀
 - Ethan and Arek 🦄
Expert-led courses for career professionals
Sphere helps corporate employees advance their careers through live learning experiences. Its virtual, expert-led courses (which generally span over a few weeks) are organized into several tracks including ML Engineering and Data Science. Following course completion, participants can join a network of peers who also participated in their course cohort.
🔗 Check them out: getsphere.com
💰 Business Model
Courses typically cost $1,000 per participant. Sphere takes a percentage of course earnings from creators, and works with participants' employers to expense course costs from corporate learning and development budgets.
📈 Traction and Fundraising
  • Raised $4.3 million seed round from investors like Felicis Ventures, Uncommon Capital, and Y Combinator
  • Participated in YC W22 cohort
  • Course listeners from 700+ companies; annual education contracts with companies like Stripe, Tinder, and Accenture
👫 Founders
  • Nicholas Rudder, CEO: Previously Associate @ Macquarie Group, Tech Consultant @ PwC, MBA @ London Business School, Marketing, Business Information Systems & Psychology BC & BS @ University of Sydney
  • Adrian Sarstedt, CTO: Previously SWE @ StockLight, AI Researcher @ University of Melbourne, CS @ University of Melbourne
🔮 Our Analysis
It’s often in the best interest of both companies and employees to find the best professional development opportunities available. These opportunities help employees make advances in their careers and bring back better informed and educated employees to the companies. Sphere is making those opportunities more accessible. Per its founders, Sphere sees itself as a content platform, not a provider; it has “the rails and formula to create and repurpose content in a way that appeals to professionals.” Sphere’s online class offerings are led by veterans in various industries, ranging from engineering, product, data science, and research. Its main appeal comes from two of its platform features: the live, intimate virtual class setting its courses are provided in, and the fact that its courses can be expensed at most major companies (with Sphere giving detailed instructions on how to get its courses expense-certified at your company if isn’t already). It makes the courses free for many participants, all while giving them the ability to directly interact with the experts leading the classes. Sphere’s course completion and satisfaction rates look promising, which, combined with its unique offering in the career development space, makes it a company to watch in the coming years.
📚 Further Reading
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