Having secured a fresh injection of funding, Coursera plans to recruit more staff, partner with more institutions and offer more features to more students.
Cousera, which launched as a MOOC platform in April 2012 and recently hit the 4 million student mark, has attracted Series B funding amounting to $43 million. Its new investors are the International Finance Corporation , the investment arm of the World Bank; Laureate Education; GSV Capital; Learn Capital; and Russian venture capitalist, Yuri Milner. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates, who participated in the initial round of funding that amounted to $22 million, are now furthering their investment in this round as well.
What does the the new funding mean? Co-founder Daphne Koller told Silicon Valley Business Journal:
"We started with four university partners a year ago and now we have 83 on four continents. "We have gotten this far on our original funding by being very, very frugal. Now we can be a little less frugal and really grow."
The Coursera blog states that, in terms of company growth it aims to double the size of its team, taking it from 50 employees to 100, over the course of the next six to nine months.
It also hopes to more than double its students number in the not-to-distant future with 10 million being the number to aim for. Among its list of forthcoming features, it lists:
- A suite of mobile apps to enable students to learn anywhere, on the go
- Opening up Coursera to the development of third party applications to allow the construction of a rich learning ecosystem for students and instructors
- International expansion through localization, translation, and distribution partnerships
- Development of collaborative learning environments, which will include group projects and private spaces for study groups
- Advancement of techniques for flipped classroom and mastery-based learning
- Continued expansion of university partnerships
- Expanded Signature Track offerings
Cousera already offers plenty of classes that are of interest to programmers, with more currently coming on stream every month, as evidenced by our regular round up of Computer Science MOOC and online classes.
Given that it remains:
committed to offering free courses to benefit its global audience of learners, while also acknowledging the important role traditional institutions play in the future of education.
its expansion has to be welcomed as a way to enable students around the world to learn without limits.