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11 July 2013

Coursera laughs all the way to the World Bank

Stanford edutech startup Coursera lands $43m in a series B backed by The World Bank, GSV Capital and others.

Author: Gregg Bayes-Brown, editor

Massive open online course (MOOC) platform Coursera has raised $43m in a series B round from a consortium of investors that brings the edutech startup’s total venture backing to $65m.

Investors included venture capital (VC) firm Global Silicon Valley (GSV) Capital, the World Bank’s investment unit International Finance Corporation, Bill Clinton-led higher education network Laureate Education, VC Learn Capital and venture capitalist and founder of Mail.ru Group Yuri Milner.

Two universities, University of Pennsylvania and the California Institute of Technology, both partners with the Stanford startup, also invested in the round.

Existing backers VC firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates, which led Coursera’s $22m series A last year, expanded their investment in the round.

Coursera plans to use the latest round to expand its global efforts to attract more students from outside of the US. Beyond the main three MOOC platforms in the US (Coursera, edX and Udacity), there is little competition for the global online course market.

Despite being announced in December last year, Futurelearn, a UK MOOC consortium led by The Open University is has not materialised, and other European equivalents are yet to make themselves known.

Andrew Ng, co-founder of Coursera, said: "We created Coursera in response to real and pressing demands for quality, accessible education around the world, and today we are proud to be part of a growing movement that is making a tangible impact on this global challenge,"

Daphne Koller, fellow Coursera co-founder, added: "We've only just begun to realize the potential for technology to transform the way professors teach, the way universities and colleges deliver knowledge, and the way people access education, and we look forward to expanding our team, our partners, and our audiences to explore the many possibilities.”

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