Higher education tech startup Minerva Project secured $57 million in a Series C round led by Chinese technology giant Bytedance. The San-Francisco based company made the announcement last week.
Other participating investors in the round include Pinpoint Ventures, Kakao Ventures, Tan Tan Ventures, Lighthouse Combined from Korea as well as existing investors such as TAL Education Group and Yongjin Group. Minerva plans to use the capital to accelerate partnership development with universities and corporations.
Two new Board Members will also be joining Minerva. Zhang Yiming, Founder and CEO of Bytedance, and Wendy Kopp, Founder and CEO of Teach for All and Founder of Teach For America, will bring their insights in technology and education.
"Our Series C funding will allow us to see improved educational outcomes for students beyond those at Minerva Schools, as we fuel the growth of these partnerships to fulfill Minerva's mission of nurturing critical wisdom for the sake of the world."
"Minerva's model for higher education is attracting interest from leading institutions and organizations who want to use the intellectual property we have developed including our curriculum, pedagogy, technology platform, and faculty training," said Ben Nelson, founder, Chairman and CEO of Minerva Project, in a statement. "Our Series C funding will allow us to see improved educational outcomes for students beyond those at Minerva Schools, as we fuel the growth of these partnerships to fulfill Minerva's mission of nurturing critical wisdom for the sake of the world."
Founded in 2012, Minerva aims to provide the best of both worlds, bridging the traditions of a research-based university education with the innovations possible through technology optimized for student learning and success. Their software, Forum, is designed to facilitate interaction via live video and ensure that professors keep students engaged and on track to reach learning outcomes.
Nelson spoke to EdSurge about how their platform currently has more traction at foreign universities than in the U.S., remarking that the strong investor interest in Asia is not a coincidence.
“There is a recognition in China that artificial intelligence and education are inextricably linked,” said Nelson to the outlet. “There’s going to be a lot of collaboration between us in the coming years.”