French edtech startup OpenClassrooms chalks up €6M in new funding

French edtech startup OpenClassrooms has raised €6 million in new funding. Backing comes from Banque Publique d’Investissements (BPI), Citizen Capital, Xavier Niel (NJJ Capital), and existing investor Alven Capital.

The new cash injection will be used by the company to increase the number of diplomas available via its learning platform and expand internationally, including to the UK.

Founded in 2013 by Pierre Dubuc and Mathieu Nebra, OpenClassrooms aims to make digital skills accessible to all by providing professional training and certification online. Its online learning platform let you study things like coding, various other technical knowledge, and digital culture.

But, crucially, says CEO and co-founder Pierre Dubuc, what sets OpenClassrooms apart from some MOOCs and other online learning platforms is the way that, in addition to delivering training, it also offers degree certification online.

“With OpenClassrooms, we want to make education accessible to all, with fostering employability a key objective,” Dubuc tells TechCrunch. “To make this happen we are fully online (including the certification process) and our content has a strong focus on digital skills”.

He also says that OpenClassrooms has a particular focus on peer-to-peer learning and, in addition, provides one-on-one mentoring via a dedicated tutor who can suggest specific exercises in order to unlock each individual student’s potential.

“The platform empowers users — students, professionals or jobseekers — to learn new skills easily that help them find employment or remain in work. The first student who just finished the path to get one of our diplomas, which are recognized by the French State, used to be a pastry chef. Now she is on her way to become a developer. Another case was someone fresh out of High School with no college education who just got his first job as a community manager thanks to our classes”.

OpenClassrooms says that to date it has amassed two million monthly users, and is the only online learning platform to provide degrees that are recognized by the French State. Last year the startup entered into a partnership with the French job centre, Pôle Emploi, to provide unlimited free access to the site to all jobseekers.

To that end, the new financing round will see OpenClassrooms set up shop in the UK and should see it train 20 million people by 2020, according to the company.