Coursera and its ilk in the US aren’t the only ones making big moves in the massive open online course (MOOC) space, over in Japan a series of companies are making progress — including Tokyo-based Schoo, which just raised $1.5 million, as Startup Dating reports.
The round is 152 million yen (approximately $1.52 million), and is led by investors Itochu Technology Ventures, Anri and Incubate Fund. The former two are existing investors which put together Schoo’s seed fund in October 2012.
The company was founded in January 2012 and it currently has more than 40,000 registered users who enjoy access to over 130 different online courses.
Unlike Coursera and other student-focused services with a global remit, Schoo is dedicated solely on Japan. To date it has proven popular among office workers in their late-20s/early-30s, but it is aiming to broaden its appeal and reach.
The startup is aiming to meet the lofty goal of surpassing one million users by the end of 2013. To do so, it will use the funding to hire an engineer and content manager, as it pushes to extend its platform to deliver courses for schools, educational centers and businesses in the country.
Schoo CEO Kenshiro Mori told Startup Dating the firm is transitioning its service into one that can be used as a learning platform by organizations — rather than targeting individual learners. It already makes money from livecasting and e-commerce services, but he believes the startup will see greater returns and progress if it operates on a wider scale.
“We need to adopt a progressive business model. We’ll add more attractive features for our paying users, and focus on acquiring more users, and improve our conversion and retention rates,” Mori added.
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