Outlier, an online higher education platform that offers online courses for college credit, has raised $11.7 million in Series A round, bringing its total funding to $16 million.
The round was led by GSV Ventures and participated by Harrison Metal, who led the previously undisclosed seed round, Tectonic Capital, and Jackson Square Ventures.
Founded in 2018 by Aaron Rasmussen, co-founder of MasterClass, Outlier offers high-quality online courses for a fraction of the cost. The startup is on a mission to make college affordable with an online education platform that offers online courses that earn students transferable college credit. Outlier provides intro-level education with professionally-produced lectures by some of the most celebrated educators in their respective fields, including professors from Yale, MIT, Columbia, and Cornell.
Outlier is reimagining higher education as a resource that is accessible, equitable, and affordable for everyone. Keeping its mission to increase access to top-quality education and reduce student debt, Outlier offers each course at only $400, which is just about one-sixth the cost of a traditional college course.
Speaking about the company’s mission and its future course, Rasmussen, Founder and CEO of Outlier, said in a statement,
“Our mission is to increase access to high-quality education and reduce student debt. With this funding and the insight that we have gained from our two pilot courses in the 2019 fall semester, we will continue building more intro-level courses and expanding to accommodate more students and more experts in their fields who can provide top-quality education at a reasonable cost.”
Outlier’s courses employ engaging content and cutting-edge educational technology to create an immersive, student-friendly learning experience. The platform currently offers two online courses – Calculus I and Introduction to Psychology. Students enjoy a top quality learning experience that includes access to one-on-one tutoring, AI-proctored assessments, dynamically-generated problem sets, and cutting-edge, active learning techniques.
The New York-based startup partnered with the University of Pittsburgh last year. Students who passed Outlier’s course earn credits from the university upon course completion. The company recently announced that it is extending its partnership with the university into the spring and summer terms of 2020.
Commenting on the investment, Julia Stiglitz, board member and investor at GSV Ventures, said,
“We are proud to support Outlier.org in their efforts to change higher education for the better. The 2019 fall semester is just the beginning, and Outlier.org has the capacity to give students an opportunity to get an education in their respective fields without committing to decades of student debt payments.”
Outlier held its first classes during the fall semester, and it now claims that students in those classes “achieved a C grade or better at the same rare as those in comparable courses within traditional classrooms.”
Meanwhile, Outlier plans to use the latest raised funds to add more courses and hire more people. The company is now accepting applications for the spring 2020 semester, which starts January 13th.