Edtech and recruitment preserve to converge. London-primarily based online diploma platform, FutureLearn, is taking £50 million (~$64.6M) from Australian-based totally online process matching institution, Seek, in trade for a 50 according to cent stake within the business — simply days after the identical group led a huge Series E in U.S. Online learning massive Coursera.
U.K. Distance getting to know veteran, the Open University — which had completely owned the FutureLearn platform until now — retains a 50 in line with cent stake within the commercial enterprise following the Seek Group investment.
In a press release saying the information, FutureLearn stated the investment values it at £100M ($129M) — some six years after the initiative changed into first announced, with the OU bringing together a consortium of U.K. Universities to attack the MOOCs/online gaining knowledge of space which became then being rapidly improved by using U.S. Edtech startups.
“Our partnership with Seek and the investment in FutureLearn will take our unique mission to make schooling open for all into new elements of the arena. Education improves lives, groups, and economies and is a honestly international product, without a price list on ideas,” stated OU vice-chancellor Mary Kellett in a statement on the investment.
The joint venture can have “contractual arrangements” to guard its educational independence, coaching techniques, and curriculum, the OU added — in an try to assuage issues about an (overly) commercially minded takeover of its fledgling virtual training platform.
The first FutureLearn courses were released in fall 2013. Since then, a cumulative overall of 9 million+ people has signed up to research via its platform — which now gives around 2,000 guides in all.
This consists of quick courses, postgraduate diplomas, and certificates, all of the way up to complete online ranges. (FutureLearn companions with six U.K. Universities on the total degree courses at this degree.)
FutureLearn additionally has partnerships with management consultancy company Accenture; the British Council; the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development; analyze-to-code basis Raspberry Pi; and Health Education England (part of the United Kingdom’s National Health Service); and is worried in U.K. Authorities-backed initiatives to cope with abilities gaps — along with The Institute of Coding and the National Centre for Computing Education.
Last fall, the Financial Times said that the OU turned into searching out a £40M capital injection for FutureLearn to fund greater publications and better compete with the scale of U.S. Edtech giants — like Coursera and Lynda.Com.
It’s now not clear how many extra publications FutureLearn plans to add with its new companion on board; a spokesperson told us it isn’t always able to offer a discern at this degree.
For a bit comparative context, some 40M humans have taken online classes through Coursera to this point — with that platform presently offering a few 3,two hundred courses and partnering with the likes of Columbia University, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Michigan. While Coursera’s $103M in Series E reportedly valued its enterprise at properly over $1BN, with Seek coming on board as a strategic investor.
The shared investor is a thrilling but possibly now not unexpected improvement given the unique markets worried, and the venture of monetizing loose-to-get admission to publications without having large scale — suggesting the Seek group, that’s already well established throughout Australia, New Zealand, China, South East Asia, Brazil, and Mexico — sees greater opportunities from strengthening nearby online gaining knowledge of platform plays, in Europe and the U.S., to grow the general online learning pipe and extend adjacent move-advertising and marketing alternatives in employment/task matching.
Last week, while strategic funding in Coursera was announced, the Seek group talked effusively about how edtech platforms permitting up-skilling and re-skilling are “aligned” with its employment-focused business venture. (Or “our motive of supporting human beings live enjoyable running lives” because it placed it.)
The FutureLearn partnership provides Seek with admission to every other pool of capacity task seekers — which include actively engaged first-year students in the UK/Europe — to addition develop the geographical attain of its recruitment platform.
Commenting on the funding in a announcement, Seek co-founder and CEO Andrew Bassat said: “Technology is increasing the accessibility of nice training and may help tens of millions of human beings up-talent and re-skill to evolve to hastily changing labour markets. We see FutureLearn as a key enabler for schooling at scale.”
“FutureLearn’s reputation is strong, and it has attracted main schooling vendors onto its platform. We are excited to return on as a accomplice with The Open University,” he delivered.
FutureLearn’s CEO Simon Nelson said the joint assignment would allow them to know the platform to extend its global attain and effect.
“This funding allows us to focus on growing top-notch publications and qualifications that both newbies and employers will cost,” he said in a declaration. “This consists of constructing a portfolio of micro-credentials and broadening our variety of flexible, completely online degrees and being able to enhance assist for our growing number of international partners to empower them to build credible virtual strategies, and in doing so, rework get admission to education.”