Online learning startup Coursera today announced it has closed a $43 million round of funding as it doubles down on the opportunity to educate people worldwide through the Web. The funds will be used to carry out a range of expansions, including the creation of mobile apps, the doubling of its staff and an expansion into third-party apps.

The Series B round includes participation from a five backers, GSV Capital, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Laureate Education, Learn Capital, and venture capitalist Yuri Milner, as well as existing ones.

Last year, Coursera raised a total of $22 million in Series A funding, thanks to investments from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates. Both are furthering their investment with this round, while the University of Pennsylvania and California Institute of Technology, two Coursera University Partners, also contributed.

Coursera has big plans for the new cash which will most notably be used to double its head count in order to massively expand its platform and bring it the capacity to deliver more advanced online teaching and learning experiences to more people worldwide.

Currently there are no Coursera mobile apps, which is a big void given the growth of smartphones and tablets, and some of the new manpower will go towards changing that and developing native mobile apps. In addition, Coursera will open its platform to third-party applications to enable developers and other services to tap into the lessons and content it offers and expand the utility of its service.

Coursera works with 83 educational institutions across four continents and offers around 400 free college-level courses to more than 4 million students “from every country in the world”, but further international expansion is planned. Coursera says funds will be allocated to localizing and translating content, as well as identifying and closing distribution partnerships worldwide.

All participating universities that offer courses on Coursera receive a share of any revenue generated by the company’s business strategies, which include verified certificates through Signature Track, course adoption by institutions and companies, as well as additional upcoming programs it is building with this funding.

In addition, it will continue to expand its university partnerships program and explore “collaborative learning environments”, such as group projects and private study group spaces.

“We created Coursera in response to real and pressing demands for quality, accessible education around the world, and today we are proud to be part of a growing movement that is making a tangible impact on this global challenge,” Coursera co-founder Andrew Ng said in a statement.

Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller added: “We’ve only just begun to realize the potential for technology to transform the way professors teach, the way universities and colleges deliver knowledge, and the way people access education, and we look forward to expanding our team, our partners, and our audiences to explore the many possibilities.”

The company is quickly establishing itself as the leading provider in the massive open online course (MOOC) space. Not only does the company offer a wide array of MOOCs, but it has dabbled in bringing online content into the classroom, courses for teachers, and even free textbooks. Frankly, we’re not surprised that this funding round is so much bigger than the last.

See also – Online learning goes official as five Coursera courses get approved by the American Council on Education and Coursera adds 29 new universities to bring total to 62, offers first courses in Chinese, Italian, and Spanish

Top Image Credit: Fred Kuipers