Udacity’s Bid to “Democratize Education” Gets $35m Strong Impetus, Attracts Industry Attention with “Nanodegrees”
Online educational startup (and one of our Top 10 big data online learning resources) Udacity has closed a financing round of $35 million with investors worldwide, such as Drive Capital leading the round.
Early patrons Andreessen Horowitz and Charles River Ventures with Peter Levine and George Zachary, also participated. Mark Kvamme, founder of Drive Capital, will join The Udacity board.
Udacity offers massive open online courses (MOOCs) focusing on vocational, technical training for professionals and prepares them for industry partners seeking skilled employees.
The Startup is collaborating with approximately 20 companies, including Google Inc., Facebook Inc., Cloudera Inc. and Salesforce Inc. which support Udacity with resources to develop and fine-tune online training and also provide credentials built and recognized by industry leaders.
In June, this year, Udacity, with AT&T and an initial funding from AT&T Aspire of more than $1.5 million, launched Nanodegrees, – “compact, flexible, and job-focused credentials that are stackable throughout your career,” explained Clarissa Shen, VP, Business Development & Partnerships, in their blog.
Vish Makhijani, the Chief Operation Officer, explains that the latest funding will be used to “double down on our work with Nanodegrees, a new type of credential for students to gain skills recognized by employers around the world.”
“In fact, today we are opening our first Nanodegree, built with AT&T, to an initial group of students. In time, the program will be open to everyone,” he added.
International media enterprise Bertelsmann in Germany, Recruit in Japan and Valor Capital in Brazil are assisting Udacity in its outreach strategy for students around the globe, Makhijani said.
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