Emeritus, which is making high-quality education accessible and affordable to individuals, companies, and governments around the world, has raised a $650 million funding round. The investment, led by Accel and SoftBank Vision Fund 2, is one of the largest for an education upskilling company. The funding was raised through a mix of primary and secondary funding, which values the company at $3.2 billion and quadrupling its Series D valuation from August, 2020.
The funding would help Emeritus take on other edtech players such as Byju’s, Unacademy, Vedantu, Simplilearn, UpGrad, Amazon Academy, and traditional education institutes. These companies are jostling to tap India's $180-billion education sector as the coronavirus pandemic forces the learning to go online.
Proceeds from the round will be used to develop new courses in conjunction with university partners. It would help create new products and industry verticals, expand the company’s business serving governments and enterprises, double down on new geographical markets, and fund acquisitions.
“Emeritus is truly a global company - from the world-class institutions with which we collaborate to our 1400 person team based in 14 countries, and the learners we educate around the world,” said Ashwin Damera, co-founder and CEO. “This fundraise will help Emeritus continue to expand its mission of making high-quality education accessible and affordable to learners across the world.”
The investment also marks Accel’s largest single EdTech investment. Accel and SoftBank Vision Fund 2 join Emeritus’ existing backers, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Sequoia India, Prosus, Bertelsmann and Leeds Illuminate. The Series E funding follows Emeritus’ recent $200 million acquisition of iD Tech, the world leader in youth STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)education, which marked Emeritus’ expansion into the K12 space.
“The unbundling of higher education and continued learning has only just started,” said Anand Daniel, Partner at Accel. “We believe that the platform and deep partnerships with the world’s best universities put Emeritus and its partner universities at the forefront of this revolution in higher education. Their products are helping bring the best quality education to students around the world at affordable prices.”
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In the last 12 months, Emeritus has grown rapidly around the globe with more than 100 per cent year- on-year growth. The company is on track to realize more than $500 million in bookings this year, making it the fastest-growing ed-tech skilling platform. Nearly two-thirds of its paid learner base is located outside the United States, with the company growing more than three times annually in emerging markets.
Since its founding, Emeritus has built a massive global upskilling platform that prepares today’s professionals for tomorrow’s rapidly-changing workplace, with over 250 professional learning programs developed in partnership with a network of more than 50 top tier universities, and delivered to more than 250,000 individuals across over 80 countries. The company pioneered Small Private Online Courses (SPOCs), creating industry-driven certification programs, professional certificates, and workforce leadership development initiatives in collaboration with its university partners around the world. Emeritus’ programs are defined by personal engagement between faculty and students, course customization, mentoring and coaching, and career counseling.
The results are evident in course completion rates of 85 per cent for Emeritus’ professional learners.
“Emeritus partners with top-tier and Ivy League universities to reach new students from around the world,” said Munish Varma, Managing Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers. “The company is helping professional learners upskill themselves on a variety of subjects from the best and the brightest instructors at an affordable price. We look forward to partnering with Ashwin Damera and the Emeritus team to accelerate growth around the world.”
This latest investment in Emeritus supports the vital need to upskill and reskill the global workforce across all sectors coming out of the pandemic. According to the World Economic Forum, such upskilling efforts have the potential to create 5.3 million net new jobs by 2030. Additionally, by 2025, half of all employees around the world will require reskilling. Moreover, the projected growth in key sectors such as health care -- projected to grow 14 per cent by 2028 -- and technology – projected to grow 31 per cent in the cybersecurity field in the next decade – amplify the demand for reskilling.