Bengaluru-based VC firm Blume Ventures invests $10M in skilling startup Interview Kickstart

Blume Ventures, a Bengaluru-based venture capital firm, has injected $10 million into Upward & Onward, the parent company of Interview Kickstart. This investment represents Blume Ventures’ largest initial investment in a company specializing in software and artificial intelligence-driven upskilling for technology professionals.

Interview Kickstart, headquartered in the US, has established itself as a premier platform for tech professionals aspiring to secure positions at top-tier tech companies. Founded in 2014 by Soham Mehta and Ryan Valles, Interview Kickstart offers extensive programs covering AI, Machine Learning, Data Science, and other advanced engineering and product domains.

The startup boasts a participant base of over 20,000 individuals, who have benefited from programs meticulously crafted and delivered by a pool of over 550 experts from leading tech firms such as Meta, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google.

Interview Kickstart highlights that its students, referred to as working learners, have received job offers averaging over $250,000 annually.

Ryan Valles, Co-founder at Interview Kickstart, said, “Top tech companies pay two to three times as much as others and offer massive wealth-creating opportunities via Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs). Interview Kickstart, with our instructors and partners, aims to help working tech professionals prepare for these compelling opportunities.”

The recent investment from Blume Ventures will reinforce Interview Kickstart’s dominance in the US market and pave the way for its international expansion, beginning with India as the inaugural test market outside the US.

Having been self-funded and consistently generating positive cash flow since its inception, the startup intends to utilize the funds to broaden its global presence and influence. This strategic decision aligns with the current landscape of the tech industry, marked by rapid innovation, where the upskilling of tech professionals has become increasingly imperative.

Karthik, Managing Partner, Blume Ventures: “Interview Kickstart presented a unique opportunity in this otherwise difficult environment. Apart from knowing Ryan for over 7-8 years, we discovered Soham and their bootstrapped and profitable business in 2023 and found it irresistible on performance and future potential. The investment is a testament to our belief in Interview Kickstart’s mission and track record of delivering career-shifting impact to professionals.”

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