Nexford University lands $10.8M pre-Series A to scale its flexible remote learning platform – TechCrunch

Nexford University lands $10.8M pre-Series A to scale its flexible remote learning platform – ClearTips

Globally, there are two serious problems in the higher education sector – affordability and relevance. Whether you live in Africa, Europe or America, one of the major reasons why people don’t go to university or college or even drop out is because they can’t afford the tuition fees.. On the other end, relevance reflects the huge gap between what a traditional university teaches and what global employers actually see. It’s no secret that universities tend to focus a bit more on theory.

In the last few years, there has been the rise of a number of Alternative credential providers are striving to provide students with the skills they need to earn and make a living. Oxford University is one of such platforms, and today, it has a $10.8 million pre-Series A funding round..

Dubai-based VC Global Ventures leads a new round. Other investors include Future Africa’s new thematic fund (focused on education), Angel Investors and Family Office. Vice-Chancellors of 10 countries including the US, UK, France, Dubai, Switzerland, Qatar, Nigeria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia also participated..

So far, Nexford has raised $15.3 million since the first tranche of $4.5 million in seed funding raised two years ago.

Fadl Al Tarzi launched Nexford University in 2019. The tech-enabled university is filling the gap in affordability and relevance by providing access to quality and affordable education.

“That way, you get the best of both worlds,” CEO Al Tarazi told ClearTips. “You get practical skills that you can put to work immediately or for your future career” active keep a job. so full experience has been made As a learning as a service model. “

Nexford University lets students study at their own pace. Once they apply and are admitted to a degree program or course program, they choose how fast or slow they want the program to be.

University of Nexford

Fadl Al Tarazi (CEO, Nexford University)

What the students learn on the platform is what the CEO says straight apply for their jobs. Currently, Nexford offers bachelor’s degrees in business administration; 360° Marketing; AI and Automation; building a tech startup; business analytics; business in emerging markets; digital transformation; e-commerce; and product management. Its undergraduate degrees are Business Administration, Advanced AI, E-commerce, Hyperconnectivity, Sustainability and World Trade.

Oxford’s tuition structure is very different from traditional universities as it is prepared monthly. Its accredited degree is paid in monthly installments ranging between $3,000 and $4,000. For example, in Nigeria, an MBA costs around $160 per month, while an undergraduate degree costs $80 per month. But the catch to the monthly installment structure means that the faster a learner graduates, the lesser it will pay.

What is it like to learn with Oxford University?

Nexford University does not offer standardized and theoretical tests or assignments like most traditional universities. Al Tarazi says the company employs a competency-based learning model, where students gain mastery by working on practical projects.

For example, a student working on an accounting course will most likely need to create a P&L statement, analyze the balance sheet, and identify where to correct the error. The platform then gives students different scenarios showing companies with different revenue and expense levels. Work? To analyze and derive some ratios to help understand which company is profitable and others involve unit economics..

Although Nexford plays in the edtech space, Al Tarazi doesn’t think the company is an edtech company. As a licensed and accredited online university, Oxford has a large amount of automation throughout the organization and provides students with support from faculty and career advisors.

After awarding the degree, Nexus puts its placement cap on its graduates by fixing it with partner employers..

There is a huge shortage of jobs in Nigeria, and despite the high unemployment, it is really hard to find extremely Qualified entry level graduate. so nexford has done many Partnerships where employers sponsor their employees or soon-to-be employees for upskilling and rescaling purposes.

An example is Sterling Bank, a local bank in the country. Most Nigerian Banks have annual routines where they hire graduates and put them on week long training programs. Sterling Bank hires any candidate after whom it thinks he has done very well Capital intensive (eight weeks in most cases) program.

So Nexford has partnered with Sterling to fund tuition for high school dropouts. When these students go through the programs at Nexford for the first year, they begin to receive part-time placements at Stirling.. After graduation, he gets a job in a bank.

“This saves Sterling training costs and our tuition fees are almost equal to the training they provided to students. Also, students start paying back after placement, so it’s a win-win.”

Nexford University has learners from 70 countries, with Nigeria still its largest market. Nexford also has blue-chip partnerships with Microsoft, LinkedIn Learning and IBM Providing access to tools, courses and programs to improve the learning experience.

A major advantage of this learning experience is how it prepares people for remote jobs. Nexford Bullish About Its Virtual Skill Grid, Where People Will Find Jobs from afar regardless of their place on the stage.

“In sub-Saharan Africa by the year 2026, there is going to be a shortage of about 100 million university seats, as the huge growth in the youth population is not met by development and supply. Even if you want to build a university fast, you won’t be able to meet the demand. And that spiral downward is in the job market. we don’t think For example, the local economy would create substantial jobs in Nigeria. But we want to enable people to find remote jobs around the world and not necessarily have to flee.”

Nexford’s revenue grew 300% last year. This year, the company expects to triple its enrollment size from last year, the CEO said.

Nexford is big on designing students’ curriculum based on their employer’s need analysis. Al Tarazi told me that the company has always followed a Big Data approach, asking itself, “How can we find out what employers around the world are looking for and keep our curriculum alive and relevant?”

“We develop proprietary technology that enables us to analyze job vacancies as well” many other data sources; Use AI to understand how those data sets are formed and build a curriculum based on those findings. So, in short, we start with the end in mind,” he replies.

The company is keen to improve its technology regardless. It wants to analyze skills more precisely and automate more tasks to enhance the user experience. This is the funding that will be used to fuel its regional expansion plans (particularly in Asia) and invest in growth and product development. According to the latter, Online university says it will launch partner program with more employers globally facility of Both placement and upskilling and rescaling.

Combining both the tech world and the traditional university model is no easy feat. The former is about efficiency, user-centricity, product, among others. The latter epitomizes rigor and is lagging behind fast-paced innovation. and untilHere is the edtech boom, most startups try to bypass the industry bureaucracy by launching an app or MOOC. Oxford’s model of running a degree-granting, licensed, accredited, and regulated university is more challenging, but it has enormous opportunities.

Future Africa General Partner CEO Ein Aboyji understands this. This is one reason why the company is the first investment in Future Africa’s soon-to-be-launched fund that focuses on the future of learning and believes the company is a game-changer for higher education in Africa..

“During the pandemic, while many universities in Nigeria” were closed Due to labor disputes, Nexford was already providing an innovative and affordable new model of online higher education designed for a skills-based economy.”

For General Partner at Global Ventures Noor Sweden, Nexford University is resolving the mismatch between the supply of talent and the demands of today’s digital economy. “We” are thrilled To partner with Fadl and the Nexford team on their journey towards increasing access to universal quality higher education in emerging markets,” she said.

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