Australian e-learning startup raises AU$1.7m for Asia growth

Australian online education startup OpenLearning has secured AU$1.7 million in funding, with the company set to leverage the cash injection to ramp up its engineering team and back its expansion into the Asian market.

Australian online education startup OpenLearning announced today that it has secured AU$1.7 million in funding, bringing its total fundraising tally to date up to AU$2.1 million.

OpenLearning, which was one of the nine technology startups included in the "first class" of Telstra's muru-D accelerator last year, describes itself as a massive open online course (MOOC) provider, offering educational courses aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the internet.

The company's latest funding round was comprised of AU$1 million from tech entrepreneur Clive Mayhew, known for starting Netscape in Asia, along with AU$700,000 from new investors including ICS Global and Hideaki Fukutake, director of Japanese education company Benesse Holdings.

The company will pump the new funds into increasing the size of its engineering and instructional design teams, help develop and implement new MOOC-based business models for commercial customers, and build upon its initial success in the Malaysian market, where it has been appointed as the official MOOC platform for all public higher education institutions.

The OpenLearning platform is currently used by around 125,000 students, according to the company.

Adam Brimo, OpenLearning CEO and co-founder, said that the success of the latest funding round was "a testament to the hard work, experience, and passion of our amazing team".

"I'm grateful for the support of our investors, and I'm personally looking forward to working with Clive [Mayhew] to make OpenLearning the leading online education platform in Asia," he said.

Mayhew said that platforms such as OpenLearning are changing the education industry and how students learn.

"OpenLearning represents a massive opportunity to provide high-quality, accessible, and collaborative education to students around the world," he said. "The platform is changing the way teachers provide education and the way students learn."

According to a 2014 report by e-learning cloud platform provider Decebo, the worldwide e-learning market is expected to hit $51.5 billion by 2016, with an annual worldwide growth rate over 2012-16 of 7.9 percent.