Sep 1, 2020 · 6 min read
Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Supports Eruditus In Increasing Access to Education Across the Globe
New Funds Enable Eruditus to Scale Course Portfolio with University Partners
The Eruditus group, consisting of Eruditus Executive Education (www.eruditus.com) and its online division EMERITUS (www.emeritus.org), announced the successful completion of its Series D funding totaling $113 million (including secondary sales) led by Leeds Illuminate and Prosus Ventures (formerly Naspers Ventures) with participation from Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and existing investors Sequoia India and Ved Capital. Eruditus, with offices in six countries, 650+ employees and more than 50,000 student enrollments over the last 12 months, is a global leader in the $280 billion global professional education market.
Eruditus partners with top-tier universities across the United States, Europe, Latin America, India and China to bring world-class business and professional education to a global audience. Eruditus has partnered with more than 30 universities to date, including MIT, Columbia, Harvard, Cambridge, INSEAD, Wharton, UC Berkeley, INCAE, IIT, IIM, NUS and HKUST, launching more than 100 courses and serving students from more than 80 countries. Many courses are offered and facilitated in multiple languages, including Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin.
Eruditus will use the new funds to increase its engagement with existing and new partner universities, to deepen its operations in emerging markets and to invest in creating career-ready courses to meet the skills required of the global workforce in a post-pandemic world.
“We collaborate closely with our university partners to make high-quality education more accessible and affordable,” said Ashwin Damera, Eruditus Co-Founder and CEO. “Covid-19 is dramatically accelerating change across higher education. We are engaging more deeply with universities worldwide to help them expand their online portfolio and global footprint. We chose Leeds Illuminate, Prosus Ventures and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative as mission-aligned partners that provide strategic value that goes beyond capital to support our growth.”
“Eruditus delivers tremendous value to working professionals and global universities, and we are delighted to partner with this team,” said Susan Cates, Managing Partner of Leeds Illuminate. “Innovative and interactive courses focused on skills of the future, delivered by sought-after global brands, create upward economic mobility for learners across the world. Eruditus provides the connective tissue to facilitate talent’s rise and global universities’ reach.”
“Education technology is a major focus for Prosus Ventures, and we now have six edtech portfolio companies spanning education across K-12, vocational upskilling, lifelong learning, and now higher education with the inclusion of Eruditus,” said Ashutosh Sharma, Head of Investments for India, Prosus Ventures. “Eruditus’ goals are a great match for ours – democratizing access of quality resources for a much broader audience. The value of the teachings of the great institutions has been rationed to those who can physically and monetarily access their facilities. Eruditus unlocks those assets and enables those institutions to help a whole new cohort of learners around the globe. Ashwin, Chaitanya and the team have already built an impressive business with truly global reach, and we look forward to helping them build the company further.”
“Eruditus serves as a critical innovation partner for top universities as they expand online course offerings in response to workforce needs and market demand,” said Vivian Wu, Managing Partner, Ventures, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. “We’re excited to support the growing partnerships between U.S. universities and those in India, China and Latin America that are making truly high-quality education accessible to a broad and diverse range of students.”
Avendus Capital was the exclusive financial advisor to Eruditus on the transaction.
The Eruditus group, consisting of Eruditus Executive Education (www.eruditus.com) and its online division EMERITUS (www.emeritus.org), offers professional education courses in collaboration with top-ranked universities: including MIT, Columbia, Harvard, Cambridge, INSEAD, Dartmouth, Wharton, UC Berkeley, INCAE, IIT, IIM, NUS and HKUST. Using technology and curriculum innovation, Eruditus enables working professionals who cannot enroll in full-time courses to access a top-tier, affordable education that will give them the skills needed to be the business leaders of tomorrow. The group’s global team includes 650+ employees located in Singapore, Boston, San Francisco, Dubai, Mexico City, Mumbai and Shanghai.
About Leeds Illuminate
Leeds Illuminate is a growth equity firm dedicated to partnering with exceptional management teams in high growth companies in education and workforce development. The Firm is committed to improving outcomes in education (pre-K through higher ed), workplace access and advancement. Together, Leeds Illuminate, with its focus on growth stage companies, and Leeds Equity Partners, with its focus on middle market buyouts, bring sector expertise and strategic insights to create long-term value for their partner companies and investors. Leeds Equity Partners was founded in 1993 and has deployed over $2.7 billion of capital across a broad spectrum of companies within the Knowledge Industries. For additional information on Leeds Illuminate, see www.leedsilluminate.com.
Prosus is a global consumer internet group and one of the largest technology investors in the world. Operating and investing globally in markets with long-term growth potential, Prosus builds leading consumer internet companies that empower people and enrich communities. The group is focused on building meaningful businesses in the online classifieds, payments and fintech, and food delivery sectors in markets including India, Russia and Brazil. Through its ventures team investments, in areas including edtech and health, Prosus actively seeks new opportunities to partner with exceptional entrepreneurs who are using technology to address big societal needs.Every day, millions of people use the products and services of companies that Prosus has invested in, acquired or built, including Avito, Brainly, BYJU’S, Codecademy, ElasticRun, eMAG, Honor, iFood, LazyPay, letgo, Meesho, Movile, OLX, PayU, Red Dot Payments, Remitly, SimilarWeb, Shipper, SoloLearn, Swiggy, and Udemy. Similarly, hundreds of millions of people have made the platforms of its associates a part of their daily lives: Tencent (www.tencent.com; SEHK 00700), Mail.ru (www.corp.mail.ru; LSE: MAIL), Ctrip.com International Limited (“Ctrip”) (NASDAQ: CTRP), and DeliveryHero (www.deliveryhero.com; Xetra: DHER). Today, Prosus companies and associates help improve the lives of around a fifth of the world’s population. Prosus has a primary listing on Euronext Amsterdam (AEX:PRX) and a secondary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (XJSE:PRX), and is majority owned by Naspers. For more information, please visit www.prosus.com.
About the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
Founded by Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg in 2015, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is a new kind of philanthropy that’s leveraging technology to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges — from eradicating disease, to improving education, to reforming the criminal justice system. Across three core Initiative focus areas of Science, Education, and Justice & Opportunity, we’re pairing engineering with grant-making, impact investing, and policy and advocacy work to help build an inclusive, just and healthy future for everyone. For more information, please visit chanzuckerberg.com.