Coursmos, an online learning startup out of Russia that began as a mobile app back in 2013 offering bite-sized, user-created micro-courses for the attention-deficit generation, has taken in a new tranche of seed funding to scale up and attack the b2b learning space.
It’s planning to build a version of its platform aimed at corporate users wanting to upskill staff. The new financing will also be used to relaunch its mobile apps, and generally to fuel further expansion, it said today.
“The corporate version would be implemented into education systems of companies, which means an employee could study at the office from his computer, [and] from a mobile device during business trip or whenever he/she wants,” a spokeswoman told TechCrunch. “All companies’ micro-courses would be available all the time for all employees. An administrator could upload micro-courses, register new users, give an access.”
Since its mobile-first beginnings, Coursmos has underpinned its e-learning proposition with the launch of a web platform, and personalized learning recommendations for users based on tracking their learning progression — so adapting course suggestions based on factors such as course engagement and expressed interests.
As of last month it had amassed around 520,000 registered users. It offers some free access to courses but also launched a premium tier in December — costing $8.88 per month for unlimited access to all micro-courses on its platform. However it’s not breaking out specific figures for uptake of that paid tier as yet, given how recent the launch is.
Some 4,000 of its users are also course creators (authors), rather than just being consumers (students), it added.
The new $600,000 in seed financing being announced today is led by Russian investment fund Altera Capital Group — which hasn’t made many online investment to date but names education, healthcare and fintech as its online investment priorities — along with VC firm Imperious Group. The funding takes Coursmos’ total raised to date to around $1.2 million. It said it will be looking to raise a Series A funding round in September.
Coursmos names its strongest markets at this point as the U.S., Russia, the U.K., India, Brazil and Indonesia. It will be focusing expansion efforts on LatAm and Asia, going forward. The startup is an alum of Ukraine-based tech incubator Happy Farm.
Other startups attacking the corporate e-learning space include the likes of Looop and OpenSesame, along with larger and longer-in-the-tooth platform players such as Pluralsight, Skillsoft and Lynda.com.
Being mobile-first is the disruptive element typically brought by newcomers to the category — offering a way for their businesses to steal a march on slower paced, legacy learning platforms that were built for a less dynamic desktop era — and perhaps also carve out a future exit by selling to acquisitive online education giants needing to play tech catch up.