The Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) movement hit the internet hard in the past years. As with the Internet itself, the phenomenon began with a handful of Universities looking to share their knowledge, and quickly has spread into independent startups looking to ride the education revolution that will inevitably arrive in the coming years. Online education has taken many forms: the much-criticized private for-profit institutions in the US (e.g: Devry, University of Phoenix, etc.) who are providing sub-par education and matching existing non-profit tuition prices. There have been too many ‘learn to code’ websites to even mention(e.g: TreeHouse), and a few aggregators of university material (e.g: Khan Academy); however, the MooC market, much like 3D Printing & Bitcoin, has yet to find the benchmark business model that will define its evolution.
Here in France there are a number of online education platforms that have begun to dig into the MOOC space – among them, Digischool, who has brought together 4 million members since its founding in 2005, curates the best education content from around the world in order to provide a community-curated curriculum in a variety of subjects. Digischool even allows communities to vote for courses they want to see created in their ‘moocStarter‘ section.
Now defined as a growing leader in France, Digischool has hired Alpha Capital’s Marc Oiknine, who has helped secure funds for Prestashop, Festicket, LeKiosk & Deezer, and also managed Tedemis’ acquisition by Criteo. Oiknine will help Digischool cofounder Thierrry Debarnot to raise what he called a ‘significantly larger round of funding’ than their previous $4 Million raise last year.
In 2015, Digischool plans to roll out not only across Europe but potentially in the US & Asia as well – and ambitious goal for a French startup – and will be digging deep into providing mobile access to education for its users. Its goals are ambitious, but it has built up a reputation in France that it hopes to piggyback off of internationally, where it will butt heads with the likes of Khan Academy, Coursera, Udacity, and even TED.
The education market is trillion’s of dollars in the US alone, and represents the single largest source of debt for US citizens today – there is no doubt that Universities are going to adapt, evolve or die.