Campus.edu, a New York startup offering associate degrees and certificate programs, has closed on $29 million.
Venture firms participating in the round included San Francisco-based Bloomberg Beta, Founders Fund, Precursor Ventures and Reach Capital; and Rethink Education Foundation, of White Plains, N.Y. Angel investors participating in the round included Discord founder Jason Citron; OpenAI founder Sam Altman; Figma founder Dylan Field; and former head of Stripe Issuing Lachy Groom.
“We’re making higher education more accessible, more affordable, and more relevant to the real-world challenges and opportunities that students face today,” said Campus founder and chancellor Tade Oyerinde, a Black college dropout from both the University of Leeds and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
College Dropout at Helm
Campus, an accredited college, offers live online and in-person associate degrees and certificate programs. Its online degree programs, dubbed Campus Scholars, are taught by professors who teach at leading universities and historically black college or university HBCUs, including Princeton, Spelman, New York University and Vanderbilt.
“Campus provides a unique opportunity to democratize top-tier education for students who might not otherwise have access,” said Campus professor Steven Kelts, who teaches politics at Princeton. “Campus is not only extending an important opportunity to students who need it, it’s also offering better employment options for the adjunct faculty community.”
Today, Campus has about 850 enrolled students. Of them, over 80% are female, and many are from under-represented populations. Most students work at least 10 hours a week. Campus sets tuition at less than the maximum Pell Grant award to make it affordable.
“Higher education has failed to serve too many students for far too long,” said Discord founder and CEO Jason Citron, an investor in Campus. “I dropped out of my local college after one semester because the curriculum wasn’t engaging for me…I’m excited to support the Campus team as they reimagine solutions that fit students’ actual learning needs and equip them to succeed, while trying to eliminate debt for students.”
Board of Trustees
Campus has named a board of trustees. The board’s members include: Dr. Arthur Levine, president emeritus, Teachers College, Columbia University; Dr. Eduardo Padrón, president emeritus, Miami Dade College; Dr. Gail O. Mellow, former president, LaGuardia Community College; Dr. Joe May, chancellor emeritus, Dallas College; and Dr. John Wilson, former president, Morehouse College. Ralph Wolff, former president of WASC Senior College and University Commission, will serve as the board’s secretary.
Campus founder Tosh Oyerinde previously started two companies — Campuswire and Gleepost, both online learning platforms. He has significant firsthand experience with online education, having been homeschooled online from 1st through 8th grade.
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Campus will use the funding round to finance its 2022 acquisition of MTI College, based in Sacramento, Calif., and on enhancing its technology platform and programs.
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Rethink Education Foundation, an investor in Campus, is a unit of Rethink Capital Partners, which focuses on “investments that seek to drive both financial returns and contribute to the betterment of our society, our communities, and our planet.”
Bloomberg Beta, based in San Francisco, is led by founding partner Karin Klein and partner James Cham. It has raised $375 million from five funds, and made 270 portfolio investments. It exited 34. Bloomberg Beta’s recent portfolio investments include Replit, Hype, Fixie, Lambda, Savant Labs and Capsule.