Nexford University, a next-generation online university providing access to quality and affordable education, has raised $10.8 million in its pre-Series A funding round led by Dubai-based VC Global Ventures.
Other investors include Future Africa’s new thematic fund (focused on education), angel investors, and family offices. According to a report by TechCrunch, unnamed VCs from 10 countries, including the US, UK, France, Dubai, Switzerland, Qatar, Nigeria, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, also took part in the round.
With the new funding, Nexford has raised a total of $15.3 million to date. The company has raised $4.5 million in its seed funding round in 2019.
Launched in 2019, Nexford University is on a mission to fill the affordability and relevance gaps by providing access to quality and affordable education to learners from across the globe. “That way, you get the best of both worlds. You get practical skills that you can put to work immediately or for your future career while actively keeping a job. So the whole experience is designed as a learning as a service model,” Founder and CEO AI Tarzi told TechCrunch speaking about the company.
Nexford University currently offers graduate and undergraduate degrees in business administration, advanced AI, hyperconnectivity, sustainability and world business, 360° marketing, AI and automation, building a tech startup, business analytics, business in emerging markets, digital transformation, e-commerce, and product management. The platform lets students study at their own pace. Once they apply and get admitted into either a degree program or a course program, they choose how fast or slow they want the program to be.
Unlike most traditional universities, Nexford doesn’t offer standardized and theoretical tests or assignments. It employs a competency-based education model where students prove mastery by working on practical projects. According to its founder, whatever students learn on the platform is directly applicable to their jobs. The platform currently has learners from over 70 countries, with Nigeria its biggest market.
After offering degrees, Nexford provides placement to its graduates with its partner employers. Nexford also partners with several employers, like Sterling Bank, who sponsor their employees or soon-to-be employees for upskilling and reskilling purposes. The company also has blue-chip partnerships with Microsoft, LinkedIn Learning, and IBM to provide access to tools, courses, and programs to improve the learning experience.
According to Noor Sweid, General Partner at Global Ventures, Nexford University is redressing the mismatch between the supply of talent and the demands of today’s digital economy. “We are thrilled to partner with Fadl and the Nexford team on their journey toward expanding access to universal quality higher education in emerging markets,” she said.
With the latest funding, Nexford plans to expand its operations, particularly in Asia, invest in growth and product development, and improve its technology to analyze skills more accurately and automate more functions to enhance user experience. The online university says it will also be launching partner programs with more employers globally to facilitate both placement and upskilling and rescaling.
Nexford claims to witness its revenues grew by 300% last year, and the company hopes to triple the size of its enrolment this year.