Course-sharing company Acadeum nabs $11.9M in latest funding round

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Dive Brief: 

  • Acadeum, a company that helps colleges share online courses with each other, nabbed $11.9 million in its latest funding round, it announced Wednesday
  • Green Street Impact Partners led the Series B round, along with ECMC Group and Pearson Ventures. Acadeum plans to use part of the funding to hire employees to promote the company’s course-sharing platform. 
  • The ed tech company has raised nearly $24 million since its founding in 2016, according to Crunchbase, which tracks investments. Acadeum bills its services as a way to keep students on a path toward graduation and provide them with access to online courses not offered by their own institutions. 

Dive Insight: 

Acadeum now counts more than 460 colleges as clients, including large public systems like Texas A&M University and small private nonprofits like Benedict College, in South Carolina. Colleges can form groups, or consortia, on Acadeum’s platform that enable them to share online courses with each other’s students. 

Some consortia form based on their home state, such as the Digital Higher Education Consortium of Texas, or DigiTex. That consortium predated Acadeum, but now uses the company’s platform to share courses its students need to complete their degrees. 

Others are based on institution type. That includes the HBCU-MSI Course-sharing Consortium, which formed last year to help boost on-time graduation among students attending historically Black colleges and minority-serving institutions. 

Home colleges, where students are enrolled, pay an annual fee to access Acadeum. They also pay the teaching institution for the price of each course their students take. Students pay their home institutions directly, just as they normally would for their courses.

Teaching institutions, meanwhile, pay a similar annual fee as well as a processing fee for each transaction they charge home colleges. Institutions that are simultaneously home and teaching colleges pay both types of annual fees.  

The platform allows colleges with unfilled sections to fill empty seats, said David Daniels, Acadeum’s president and CEO. It also helps out colleges whose students can’t get the courses they need to graduate at their home institutions, Daniels said. Some prerequisites, for instance, get filled so quickly that students must wait another semester or year to take them. 

“You could completely eliminate bottleneck forces given the scale of inventory that we have in our marketplace today,” Daniels said. 

Acadeum also provides additional services, such as mapping out course equivalencies between two colleges. 

Investing in Acadeum interested Green Street Impact Partners because the company is attempting to solve thorny problems in higher education, said Amy Bevilacqua, managing partner at the private equity firm. She pointed to the roughly 40 million Americans who left college without earning a degree. 

Bevilacqua also contended that Acadeum has multiple avenues to grow its reach, including by broadening dual enrollment access for high school students and expanding internationally. 

“It’s our job to find companies that can scale both financially and in terms of the impact that they’re generating,” Bevilacqua said. “When we find those two things, we get excited.”

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