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

Jaya Vishwakarma
New Update
Soham Mehta and Ryan Valles

Soham Mehta and Ryan Valles

Bengaluru-based venture capital firm Blume Ventures invested $10 million in Upward & Onward, the parent company of Interview Kickstart.

The investment marks the largest maiden cheque by Blume Ventures into a company that specializes in software and artificial intelligence-linked upskilling for technology professionals.

Interview Kickstart, with its base in the US, has emerged as a leading platform for tech professionals aiming to secure positions at top tech companies.

Offering comprehensive programs in AI


Founded in 2014 by Soham Mehta and Ryan Valles, Interview Kickstart offers comprehensive programs in AIMachine Learning, Data Science, and other advanced engineering and product areas. 

The startup claims that over 20,000 people to date have gone through its programmes, which are designed and delivered by over 550 experts from leading tech companies like Meta, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google.

Interview Kickstart said its students, called 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.”

Focused on global expansion 

The latest funding from Blume Ventures will bolster Interview Kickstart's leadership in the US market and facilitate its global expansion, with India being the first test market outside the US.

The startup, which has been bootstrapped and cash-flow positive since its inception, plans to leverage the funds to extend its reach and impact on a global scale. The move comes at a time when the tech industry is witnessing rapid innovation, making the upskilling of tech professionals more critical than ever.

Why Did Blume Ventures Invest in Interview Kickstart?

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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