Coursera is fast turning into a byword for online learning and the success of its latest round of funding will only serve to further entrench the service in the space. The online learning startup has announced that it has acquired $43 million in funding in a Series B round.
The investors in Coursera now include GSV Capital, International Finance Corporation, Laureate Education, Learn Capital and venture capitalist Yuri Milner. That’s in addition to the existing investors who have already put in $22 million in the Series A round of funding in 2012.
Much of the money will be used to create smartphone and tablet apps, something that's sorely lacking in Coursera's current state. The company will also open the service to third-party app developers so that their software can leverage Coursera’s modules and content, and offer value-added services.
Coursera will soon be expanding into other markets
Currently, 83 educational institutions around the world have tied up with Coursera; it offers close to 400 free college-level courses to more than 4 million students or users. The company wants to build on the initial success and is planning a bigger international play. The newly-acquired funds will be used to develop region-specific courses or content as well as for localising and translating all existing content so as to reach a wider audience.
Coursera is looking at emerging markets and developing countries, where online education does not have great penetration. “Demand for education in developing countries is growing rapidly due to population growth and the rising share of students seeking university education,” said Elena Sterlin, Senior Manager for Health, Education and Services at IFC, one of the new investors in Coursera. “Coursera's innovative model is a breakthrough in delivering low-cost university and continuing education to students through online courses.“
The company is also looking to get distribution partners for its future and current services. With additions like collaborative learning environments, group projects and private spaces for study groups on the anvil, finding distribution partners might not be difficult for Coursera.