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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Guild Education, a Denver-based education benefits platform for Fortune 1000 companies, raised $40 million in Series C funding led by Felicis Ventures.

Why it's a big deal: While many startups are effectively designed to displace workers (via automation, etc.), this one is seeking to help over 60 million front-line employees get the degrees and credentials needed for better-paying jobs.

Guild also recognizes that traditional data sets for higher-ed fail to include factors like which schools are best for working adults, those caring for families, etc.

  • Customers include Lowe's, Walmart, Taco Bell, Discover and Lyft.

It's the largest investment in Felicis' 12-year history, and other investors include Salesforce Ventures, Workday Ventures, Rethink Impact & Education, SVB, Bessemer Venture Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Harrison Metal and Cowboy Ventures.

Bottom line from Felicis' Wes Chan:

"There's a lot of friction for front-line workers trying to go to college, in terms of for-profit predatory schools and all the complicated paperwork. [Guild CEO Rachel Carlson] solved that by working with a set of nonprofit higher-ed institutions, and having a mission of helping these students actually graduate, by creating a process that includes coaching and advising."

Go deeper

35 mins ago - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."

The Mischief Makers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers are emerging as troublemakers within their parties and political thorns for their leadership.

Why it matters: We're calling this group "The Mischief Makers" — members who threaten to upend party unity — the theme eclipsing Washington at the moment — and potentially jeopardize the Democrats' or Republicans' position heading into the 2022 midterms.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Obama speechwriter fears Biden unity drive is one-sided

Cody Keenan (right) is shown heading to Marine One in December 2009. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Obama's former speechwriter says he's "preemptively frustrated" with President Biden's effort to find unity with Republicans.

What they're saying: Cody Keenan told Axios that Biden's messaging team has "struck all the right chords," but at some point "they're gonna have to answer questions like, 'Why didn't you achieve unity?' when there's an entire political party that's already acting to stop it."