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Emeritus, which develops online courses with universities, raises $40M

The funding streak for educational startups in Asia continues into 2019 afterEmeritus, a U.S-Indian company that partners with universities to offer digital courses, landed a$40 million Series C round led bySequoia India.
The deal includes participation from existing investorBertelsmann India Investments, and it takesEmeritus founded in 2010 as offline management program companyEruditus to around $50 million from investors to date. It alsofollows notable rounds in December for India-based education companiesByjus ($540 million) and Toppr ($35 million).
Emeritus is the online branch ofEruditus. It was founded in 2014 as a response to the growth in digital learning. Specifically, it took the core elements of theEruditus which include helping educational institutions design new curriculums and applied it to the online space to develop certificate courses and online degrees.
The company has offices in Boston where it works to develop curriculum content as well as Dubai, Mexico, Mumbai andSingapore. In total, it has some 350 employees while its partners includeMIT, Columbia, Tuck at Dartmouth, Wharton, UC Berkeley and London Business School.
Today,Emeritus accounts for most of the businesss growth potential and it is really the focus of this investment, co-founder and directorAshwin Damera told TechCrunch in an interview.
Werehelping working professionals who cant otherwise come to these schools to access high-quality educational content online,Damera said. Its very different from a MOOC [such as Coursera or Udemy], we are a SPOC small, private, online course.
For one thing, all Emeritus courses are run in collaboration with universities, they tend to attract older students since they are masters level and their completion rates are around 90 percent, according to Damera. Students on a course, he said, are broken down into sections of around 100 and then smaller working groups of around six, much like traditional offline courses.
Emeritus said it will enroll 30,000 students from 80 countries during this current financial year. Thats a figure thatDamera wants to grow ten-fold over the next five years.
The companys strategy to reach that lofty goal revolves around widening its reach to new audiences. A key part of that focus is to expand its existing English and Spanish content libraries, and develop content inPortuguese and Mandarin for the first time. Interestingly, in the case of China,Emeritus is open to a potential acquisition or a joint venture to get a local business up and running.
Right now,Damera said that just 70 percent of students are based overseas. In addition to accommodating additional international languages, he said that global push will mean the company will develop its tech stack to enable a greater more mobile-based content for students.
But, beyond those perhaps obvious areas,Emeritus is examining the potential to offer newer products and courses at more affordable prices. In particular, Damera believes there is a huge opportunityto apply itself to bachelor degree education although he plans to expand its master degrees first.
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