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18 December 2012

University Ventures looks to online future

Higher education investment fund University Ventures is to invest in its own startup.

Author: Gregg Bayes-Brown, editor

US-based University Ventures, a higher education investment firm with $100m backing, has announced that it will invest in its own startup UV Labs, which will partner with other universities to develop online learning products.

The San Francisco-based startup did not disclose the size of the investment, nor did it provide exact details of the products UV Labs would be developing. However, it said in a statement that it would be looking to partner with top-tier universities and colleges to pursue a strategy of “innovation from within” the sector.

University Ventures also said its products would resolve issues with “accessibility, affordability, quality and accountability” in education. Online educational technologies have seen a sharp rise in popularity and investment over 2012, such as Stanford-led Coursera. The provider of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) attracted $22m in two venture rounds led by venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers since launching earlier in the year.

UV Labs will be led by co-founder and chief executive officer Satish Menon. Menon previously served as chief technology officer for education services company Apollo Group and vice president at web portal Yahoo’s Consumer Platform division.

“This is an exciting collaborative new venture. For too long higher education has remained unchanged by the technological advances taking place in other industries. If universities around the world want to meet the need for a more skilled and prepared workforce, innovative products and technologies are needed,” said Menon in a statement. “In partnership with global thought-leaders in higher education and the private and public sectors, UV Labs has the opportunity to deploy products that will adequately prepare learners to meet and solve the pressing needs facing our world today.”

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