Australian edutech startup OpenLearning has raised $8.5 million in a Series A round led by Malaysian companies Prestariang Berhad and Paramount Corporation Berhad, with participation from a handful of local investors.
Bringing the total raised by the startup since launch to $13.7 million, CEO Adam Brimo said the funding will be put towards growing the platform further across Australia and Malaysia, where it has been operating for several years, and wider expansion across Southeast Asia.
According to Brimo, the startup now has 1.3 million students on board learning through the massive open online courses (MOOCs) created by its university and vocational education partners.
Along with Australian clients including UNSW, the University of Melbourne, and the Federal Government, the startup also has, among others, Malaysia’s 20 public universities and 34 public polytechnics on board.
“I would like to personally thank our entire team and our early investors for their hard work, passion and dedication to building an innovative learning platform and an impact-driven company that is solving the fundamental challenges in higher education: access and quality,” Brimo said.
“We’re honoured to have the support of visionary Australian and Malaysian investors who understand the opportunity for education technology in the region.”
The Malaysian investors, both listed companies, have experience in the education space: formerly an ICT software and training service provider, Prestariang Berhad is now a ‘technology and talent platform innovator’ providing a range of business transformation services.
Dr Abu Hasan Ismail, CEO of Prestariang Berhad, said the company’s investment in OpenLearning is “strategically in line” with the expansion of its education business.
“OpenLearning is the leading MOOC platform in Malaysia, coupled with our talent engagement platform EduCloud, will bring significant impact on quality educational opportunities for students and talents across the globe,” he said.
Paramount, meanwhile, owns a number of businesses, including education provider Paramount Education.
Paramount Group CEO, Jeffrey Chew Sun Teong, said, “With the strong push from the government to modernise our education system using technology, Paramount is committed to raising our game through the assimilation of the latest technologies and educational approaches.
“As we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0, companies – big or small – will have to innovate and stay relevant in order to stay competitive in the global world. As such it is critical for us to embrace change. We have been looking for opportunities to gain entry into technology-based businesses and this investment with OpenLearning is a step in the right direction.”
Clive Mayhew, OpenLearning chairman and investor, said the addition of international backer to the startup’s roster of backers serves to contribute to its global focus and positions it well for its next level of growth.
The company’s raise follows fellow Australian edutech Intersective last week closing a $3.75 million Series A round that will facilitate the company’s expansion into India and the US.
With Intersective’s flagship product Practera enabling educators to build and deploy apps to support “real world” work experience and skill development programs, from internships to accelerators and international exchanges, cofounder Suzy Watson said the demand in India for such a solution is growing steadily.
She explained, “India is making the transition to knowledge economy workers and because of their demographics, they need a low-cost solution that’s independent of geography and the need to be face to face, and able to link into other countries.”
OpenLearning’s Huat Lai Koh, Sarah Sahyoun, Adam Brimo, David Collien, and Brooke Hahn. Source: Supplied.