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."

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