Chinese Investors Lead $70M Series B Round in Minerva Project

Chinese Investors Lead $70M Series B Round in Minerva Project

MINERVA PROJECT: $70 million to San Francisco, CA-based Minerva Project in a Series B round led by three Chinese investors: TAL Education Group, ZhenFund and Yongjin Capital. Existing investor Benchmark Capital, which led the company's $25 million seed round in 2012, also participated. Minerva has received 70% ($49 million) of the funding; the rest "will be allocated by the beginning of 2015," according to the press release.

Founded in 2012, the Minerva Project has embarked on an ambitious vision to reinvent the higher education experience and create an Ivy League experience without the Ivy League price. (Minerva says total costs, including housing and food, comes to under $30,000 a year.) Students receive a mix of online (all courses are conducted as live, interactive seminars) and experiential (students can live in seven different cities) education. Minerva's first undergraduate class of 29 students (picked from 2464 applicants) just started classes this Fall.

The Minerva Project will have raised close to $100 million by 2015, though the Wall Street Journal says Minerva "is still far from being a self-sustaining business."  

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