By Don Clark. Pessimism about education is easy to find. Sebastian Thrun is a pretty persuasive antidote, and the funding seems to be following.
The German-born Stanford University research professor, programmer, robotics whiz and Google fellow had an impressive resume well before he co-founded the online education company Udacity. His team, for example, played important roles in both Google’s self-driving car and what became the eyewear technology product that started as Project Glass.
But the startup has really elevated his profile, and the financiers have taken notice. On Thursday, Udacity is announcing a $15 million venture-capital round led by the ubiquitous Andreessen Horowitz. The new infusion brings its total raised to date to $21.5 million.
Peter Levine, a general partner at the firm who is joining Udacity’s board, throws out some particularly effusive praise–stating in a blog post that it is sinking money into “a team and company that we’re absolutely convinced will change the world.”
Why the hyperbole? Hasn’t online education been around, in various forms, for more than three decades?
Udacity, which is frequently mentioned along with other new-wave education startups like Coursera, is pursuing a vision that has some fresh elements. More...