Sqore raises $3.5 million from Northzone to bridge the skills gap
Sqore (www.sqore.com), the market leader in online challenge-based skill testing, has today (DATE) closed a $3.5 million funding round led by Northzone, early backers of Spotify, Avito, and iZettle. This is Northzone’s first investment of 2015, and Sqore is the first company to benefit from the recently announced Fund VII, which closed at $325 million in December 2014.
Based in Stockholm, Sqore creates online challenges and competitions that are used by corporations and academic institutions worldwide, allowing them to compare the skills of candidates on a level playing field, regardless of nationality or educational background. With a distribution network of over 15 million students in more than 190 countries, over the past four years Sqore has connected talented young people around the world with thousands of life-changing jobs, internships, and scholarships. Its mission going forward is to further bridge the skills gap between traditional academia, MOOCs, and employers, by precisely testing relevant, applicable skills that matter to employers.
Sqore’s previous clients include IBM, Shell, IKEA, Morgan Stanley, KPMG, The Economist Group, and Bertelsmann. This latest round of financing will allow Sqore to focus on product development and to invest in a dedicated sales unit, further consolidating its position as an international leader in the online recruitment space. Sqore will take competition-based recruitment to the mass market, making its platform the tool of choice for innovative employers who wish to reach the best talent available globally. With over 400,000 members and more than 2,000 university partners lined up to promote the platform, Sqore is quickly becoming the best way for young people to discover and connect with attractive global opportunities, regardless of their formal academic background.
Niklas Jungegård, CEO of Sqore comments: “We are delighted to have the endorsement and financial backing of Northzone to take us into our next phase of development and growth. Our vision is simple: we want Sqore to help people realise their full potential, whilst also helping more companies and organizations to attract the best talent from around the world. Regardless of how certain skills are acquired – through traditional university education, online courses, practical experience or self-taught – Sqore allows these skills to be certified and verified through online testing and challenges, connecting the best candidates with the right companies and organisations.”
Bjørn Stray, General Partner and Co-founder of Northzone comments: “We believe that Sqore offers a genuinely innovative and practical solution to the problem of finding the best people for an organisation or company. Skills acquired outside of formal education can be vital, but there needs to be a way to measure them. Sqore’s vision of opening up the employment market has significant global potential, and we look forward to helping develop the platform even further.”
A recent project facilitated by Sqore was Go Green in the City, the world’s largest green energy competition, organised by energy management company, Schneider Electric in the summer of 2014. This was the competition’s fourth consecutive year, with Sqore attracting over 12,000 students from 159 countries to engage with the initiative. In total, 803 teams from 462 universities around the world submitted entries, presenting their ideas for efficient energy management in smart cities. The winning team, selected by senior management at Schneider Electric, won a VIP-style trip around the world, visiting state-of-the-art facilities, as well as a professional opportunity with Schneider Electric.
Sqore was established in 2010 and has its HQ in Stockholm, Sweden. Sqore specialises in recruitment competitions for talented young people, and manages the world’s largest community for students who compete – studentcompetitions.com. Notable clients include Credit Suisse, IBM, Autodesk and The New School.
The name ‘Sqore’ can be broken down into two parts: ‘Sq’, standing for sentience quotient – a measure of the total processing capacity of the brain; and ‘ore’, a type of rock from which valuable elements can be extracted through a refining process. The word Sqore also implies a number of values such as academic merit, competition, talent and results, as well as drive and motivation: all attributes the platform helps to identify.
Founded in 1996, Northzone has to date raised seven funds and invested in some 100 technology-enabled companies. The current portfolio includes companies such as Spotify, Avito.ru, Trustpilot, MarketInvoice, and SpaceApe. The company has offices in London, Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen and New York. For further information, visit www.northzone.com
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