By George Anders
Coursera founders Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng don’t think small. Their Mountain View, Calif., online-education company is less than two years old, yet it already has attracted more than 4 million student signups. Now Coursera has raised $43 million in fresh venture capital, tripling its cash available for growth.
Coursera is one of a handful of fast-growing startups (others include Udacity and EdX) that use the internet to provide free, college-level instruction. Subjects span everything from computer science to history, poetry and health-care policy. Coursera’s instructors include globally known professors from at least 73 universities worldwide, ranging from Brown to the University of Tokyo. The U.S. accounts for less than half of Coursera’s overall student enrollment; other prominent countries include Brazil,India, China, Canada, Britain, Russia and Germany.
So what comes next?
Some clues can be found in Coursera’s latest choices of backers. When the company raised $22 million last year, it tapped primarily into mainstream Silicon Valley venture capital firms (Kleiner Perkins and New Enterprise Associates.) This time around, Coursera is raising much of its fresh $43 million from three specialized ed-tech funds (GSV Capital, Laureate Education and Learn Capital.) Other funds are coming from the World Bank’s investment arm (International Finance Corp.), as well as from Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner.
[ Full article available at Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/georgeanders/2013/07/10/coursera-hits-4-million-students-and-triples-its-funding/ ]