Online Platform EdCast Set to Initiate ‘Muliversity’ Concept

EdCast has announced that it completed a $6 million Series A round of financing led by SoftBank Capital.

EdCast is a Stanford StartX company that creates Knowledge Cloud platforms for institutions, educators, enterprises, and governments globally so that the entities are able to collaborate with one another. Other investors include Mitch Kapor (Kapor Capital), Menlo Ventures, Novel TMT Ventures, Cervin Ventures, Aarin Capital, NewSchools Venture Fund/CoLab, and the Stanford StartX Fund.

Earlier this month, EdCast announced its first project with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network, which will link more than 200 institutions worldwide. The UN project is committed to ending poverty, increasing social inclusion, and sustaining the planet.

“These investments represent a quantum jump to let data-rich and personalized Knowledge Clouds enable higher education institutions and top educators to deliver their content globally with sustainable business models,” said Karl Mehta, Founder & CEO of EdCast Inc. and most recently founder & CEO of PlaySpan, acquired by VISA. “With EdCast, we’ll see the rise of the “multiversity” where hundreds of campuses interconnected through public and private hosted clouds offer the best curriculum from major institutions in the U.S. and around the world.”

Mary Lou Forward, Executive Director of Open Education Consortium in Newton, MA, says that her company has been looking for a solution which would allow the “300+ institution partners in the consortium to achieve blended learning, for credit/continuing education credits, paid/free, and other use cases”.

We’re “creating a whole new concept,” CEO and founder Karl Mehta told VentureBeat. “Universities have to collaborate with each other and can’t be walled off.”

Based in Mountain View, Calif., the company’s goal is to increase educational collaboration between its partners, including Columbia University, Michigan State, Trinity College, Dublin, and the University of Botswana, writes Barry Levine for VentureBeat.  Knowledge Cloud is built on OpenEdX, the open source version of Harvard and MIT’s edx platform. Thirty-nine universities are using the platform, according to Mehta, and that will soon expand to 200.  This will allow students to select the teachers, resouces, and curriculum they need from a variety of institutions.  The funding will be used to “drive product development and growth”.

In an article on TechCrunch, Colleen Taylor writes that Mehta is best known for his virtual goods “monetization startup” PlaySpan.  Online games, digital media, and social networks are able to have a payment platform from the company. Founder and CEO Mehta was a part of the $190 million sale to Visa.

Mehta was also a part of Menlo Ventures located in Menlo Park, California, which provided capital to technology companies.  He has also been on AngelList, a site where investors meet startups, and was founder and CEO of Source Ventures. So far this month, AngelList has had over $9,000,000 invested online.  A startup can sign up on the site, and investors can find startups they might like to invest in.

One result of getting this injection of funds is that it proves the more modernized massive open online course platforms are still viable options in the competitive academic space alongside edX and Coursera, according to Molly Greenberg, writing for InTheCapital.

09 29, 2014
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