Online Education Firm Encore Raises $15 Million; Steve Poizner To Serve As CEO

Encore Career Institute, a new online educational company, this morning announced that it has raised $15 million in Series A funding in a round co-led by VC firms InterWest Partners and Granite Ventures. Encore also said that its co-founder Steve Poizner, a well-known American entrepreneur and politician, will serve as CEO.

Other co-founding entities of the Encore Career Institute are The Sherry Lansing Foundation and Creative Artists Agency, one of Hollywood’s top talent agencies.

Encore will offer professional certificates and career counseling services to baby boomers transitioning to new careers or seeking to remain viable in today‚Äôs job market. Encore has teamed up with UCLA Extension, the University of California, Los Angeles’ division for continuing and professional education, which will serve as the licensed provider of program content for the company.

Development of programs and technology has commenced, with classes and services expected to begin in fall 2012. The programs, which will average about a year, will cost between $5,000 and $10,000.

Encore says it will offer courses and certificate programs in a variety of careers, including finance, healthcare, and environmental sustainability, and use social and mobile technology to create new models of online learning specifically designed for baby boomers.

Steve Poizner has more than 20 years experience as a technology entrepreneur, starting and running companies in Silicon Valley. Prior to serving in elected office, Poizner founded and served as CEO of Strategic Mapping, a software company that developed a program to display geographic data on digital maps.

He also founded SnapTrack, which was acquired by Qualcomm for $1 billion.