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Summary of Investment Information
This Summary of Investment Information (SII) is prepared by IFC to disclose a factual summary of the main elements of the potential investment. Its purpose is to enhance the transparency of IFC’s activities. For any project documentation or data included or attached herein that has been prepared by the project sponsor, authorization has been given for public release by the project sponsor. IFC considers that this SII is of adequate quality for release to the public, but has not necessarily independently verified all of the project information therein.
It is distributed in advance of IFC Board of Directors’ consideration and may be periodically updated thereafter. Board dates are estimates only and this document should not be construed as presuming the outcome of the Board Directors’ decision.
T-AB - Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools
Date SPI disclosed
May 30, 2013
Projected board date
July 1, 2013
Last Updated Date
May 30, 2013
Invested: July 9, 2013
Signed: July 2, 2013
Approved: July 1, 2013
E&S Risks /Impacts andMitigation
Coursera is an educational technology company started in 2011 by two- computer science professors from Stanford University. The company offers the new generation of online and scalable courses known as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). The company’s mission is to provide access to high-quality courses from top universities to every student around the world. Coursera is looking to raise a Series B round of equity to support its ambitious growth plan. The Series B round is expected to significantly increase Coursera’s exposure and impact in developing markets where there is significant unmet demand for quality higher education and MOOCs. Specifically, Coursera will help provide students in emerging markets with access to an innovative online learning experience that can help them build skills, enhance their employability, and support life-long learning. Coursera will also help increase the number of top emerging markets universities in the Coursera network; and help build the capacity of higher education institutions in emerging markets by integrating Coursera’s content and developing innovative and flexible pedagogies such as blended learning.
Project Sponsor and Major Shareholders of Project Company
Coursera is a private company that in less than 12-months since its launch became the largest provider of MOOCs, with over 3 million unique users registered from 192 countries, 62 university partners from the United States, Europe, Asia and Latin America, and offering over 300 courses in 4 languages. Partner universities include leading research and teaching universities in the US (e.g. Princeton), specialized tertiary institutions (e.g. Teacher Training Institutes), and public universities in developing markets (i.e. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) amongst others. Around 40 percent of the user base of the company is in emerging markets.
Main shareholders include co-founders Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, Kleiner Perkins Cuafield & Byers; New Enterprise Associates, Inc; University of Pennsylvania and Caltech.
Total Project Cost and Amount and Nature of IFC's Investment
IFC is considering an equity investment in Coursera of up to US$5 million.
IFC investment as approved by Board
5 million (USD)
IFC Investment (million USD)
* These investment figures are indicative
Location of Project and Description of Site
Coursera is based out of Mountain View, California but the equity capital would be used to support the worldwide expansion of the Company including the emerging markets.
Expected Development Impact
(i) Promoting affordability: MOOCs will counter-act the trend of continuous increases in costs of higher education experienced in many countries by making available to students of different socioeconomic backgrounds high quality instruction and education materials for free.
(ii) Improving quality and accountability: By making available new learning opportunities in emerging markets, Coursera can help build the capacity of local higher education institutions, potentially promoting systemic quality improvements and greater accountability on student outcomes.
(iii) Supporting employability: The wide variety of course offerings coupled with Coursera's student recruitment services can allow students globally to access knowledge and skills that otherwise would not be available to them and open opportunities to access quality jobs by making job-seekers more visible to potential employers.
(iv) Supporting lifelong learning in an increasingly knowledge-based economy: MOOCs make available advanced courses that are not widely available in emerging markets and can help the next generation of life long learners acquire 21st century skills and apply them in the workplace.
(iv) Supporting innovation: Coursera has the potential to transform the traditional classroom-based education, by allowing universities to license their content to develop personalized and more flexible programs that effectively meet student's needs.
(v) Individualizing learning: Technology has the potential to promote a more individualized learning experience, segmenting the student population according to learning patterns and preferences and providing each segment with customized content and pedagogical tools.
(vi) Measuring outcomes: the combination of scale and technology can facilitate data-driven approaches to measure student learning (e.g. through data mining) feeding back relevant information about student learning patterns to instructors and institutions for academic improvement.
IFC's Expected Role and Additionality
(i) Global partner for growth in Emerging Markets: IFC can help Coursera grow and cater effectively to the demand for higher education in developing countries by leveraging its global footprint, relationships with governments through the World Bank, and through its existing client portfolio of over 80 higher education institutions in emerging markets.
(ii) Knowledge sharing: IFC can provide Coursera with knowledge about regulatory frameworks in higher education in emerging markets and help them expand into harder to reach geographies in Asia and Africa.
(iii) Proof of Concept and Signaling: IFC's investment will send a positive signal to the market that private sector-led, technology-enabled solutions have the potential to transform public and private higher education in emerging markets. It will also signal the high potential for financial and educational returns of Coursera's innovative business concept, and of MOOCs more broadly.
Environmental & Social Categorization Rationale
This is a category C project according to IFC’s Procedure for Environmental and Social Review of Project. The Project has minimal environmental and social risks and the Company’s performance is consistent with international good practices and IFC’s Environmental and Social Requirements.
For inquiries about the project, contact:
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Phone: (312) 344-3239
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