GSV Ventures has invested US$7 million into Valenture Institute, an edu-tech business offering a curriculum recognized by the world’s leading universities.
GSV Ventures is a global venture capital fund focused on early-stage entrepreneurial partnerships with exceptional global education technology companies like, most notably: Coursera, Photomath, ClassDojo, and Masterclass.
It has, undoubtedly, shown its passion for investing in the rapidly growing $7 trillion digital learning technology space, the evolution of education, and future-forward approaches to learning.
Valenture Institute was founded by Robert Paddock, who was also co-founder of Getsmarter, a transformative digital education company successfully acquired by NASDAQ listed 2U in 2017.
“The global demand for high quality online schooling is skyrocketing in the current climate. We are absolutely thrilled to be partnering with the GSV team, who have already added immense value to our business through their knowledge, connections and strategic guidance. We’re scaling up rapidly, and look forward to working with the GSV team to achieve our goal of becoming the largest and most impactful school on the planet,” says Paddock.
In a press statement released, Deborah Quazzo of GSV Ventures added that, the vision was clear and it’s not about their (Valenture Institute) online experience or blended-learning boutique campuses, but it is about evolving education in a way never seen before.
She revealed that they usually back companies they know have the potential to change the narrative of education and in this case, the Valenture Institute team has the grit, know-how and innovative spirit to change the way we educate all learners around the globe in future – be that primary, secondary or at tertiary level.
With the goal of being the biggest online high school in the world by 2028, this investment will certainly add fuel to Valenture Institute’s already raging fire. The school was established as a fully-fledged online offering pre-COVID, and the forced shift to online during lockdown accelerated the school’s growth. Almost exponentially.
Valenture Institute’s proud Bradley Elliott, Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer says,
“The investment will be used for further global expansion, enhancing the learning experience, and building out additional offerings such as new subjects and exclusive bootcamps like Coding, Design Thinking, Data Science and more.”
More specifically, resources will be allocated to the roll-out of the school’s hybrid, tech-enabled, boutique campuses, which combine online learning, in-person guidance by Learning Coaches and socialising with peers and additional features of physical spaces.
Currently, the school has three South African boutique campuses opening its doors in January 2021 in Joburg’s Dunkeld, and Cape Town’s southern suburbs of Newlands and Constantia. However, global destinations like London, Boston, and New York will soon be home to a Valenture Campus.
Thanks to the investment from GSV Ventures into Valenture Institute, it only means the future of high school is now.
Ghana’s OZÉ Raises $700K with Plans to Expand to Nigeria
The Accra based tech startup, OZÉ, reports, it has raised US$700,000 led by Anorak Ventures and Matuca Sarl. The fintech startup helps small businesses in Africa grow their operations by digitizing and providing them with access to capital.
What the fund is to be used for?
In Ghana and in most other Africa countries, access to capital for small and medium scale enterprises is a struggle. Much that the MSME credit gap in Sub-Saharan Africa is pegged at US$331 billion which means many African lenders are missing out on close to US$80 billion in annual interest income, simply because lending to these category of businesses is tough.
The challenges with small businesses in the African market
Sadly, a number still keep records on papers, they have no formal business education, not only that, one cannot find any credit history, they have weak or no collateral, and their operations are quite opaque.
OZÉ comes into the scene with its award-winning business app and proprietary credit risk algorithm, making it profitable for banks to make no-collateral loans to MSMEs.
For the co-founder and CEO of the tech company, Meghan McCormick, their OZÉ Flywheel makes it profitable for banks to lend to MSMEs. She goes on to say that,
“Using OZÉ already screens for the type of entrepreneurs banks should want to lend to and as entrepreneurs keep using OZÉ they can access more funds at a lower risk to the bank.”
What we know is that, their OZÉ Business App makes keeping financial records habit-forming in a more fun way. Remarkably, its users earn gold coins when they track sales and expenses, send digital receipts and invoices.
They also remind customers to pay what they owe, simply from their smartphones. There is a business dashboard which shows how the business is trending and have made available a business coach who is just a click away.
Since it launched its beta app in 2018, a growing number of active users and paying subscribers have recorded more than 250,000 transactions in the app with a value of more than US$50 million. OZÉ says it piloted a small loan portfolio in 2020, with no defaults and had a projected annual 43% ROI (return on investment).
Dave Emnet, a co-founder and COO, in a press release said, he was super excited about the next stage of OZÉ, adding that, they were integrating with Paystack and other PSPs (payment service providers) to allow for SMEs accept and send payments through the app as well as partner with more financial institutions to expand on the success of OZÉ’s approach to lending.
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