Online learning platform 2tor today announced the close of a $26 million Series D funding round led by an affiliate of the Hillman Company. This brings the Chelsea Piers-based company’s total venture funding to $96 million. All previous investors—Bessemer Venture Partners, Highland Capital, Redpoint Ventures, Novak Biddle Venture Partners and City Light Capital—who helped 2tor raise $32.5 million just over a year ago decided to come back. Joining them were new investors SVB Capital and WestRiver Capital.
“The next steps—plural—are really to continue building out our existing programs and to launch new programs that are of the exact same caliber and quality of our existing ones,” Jeremy Johnson, cofounder and CMO of 2tor said. “We believe the world is moving more and more online and we believe that these programs are head and shoulders above anything else out there.”
Roughly 1,000 students have already graduated, and masters candidates are perusing degrees on 2tor through big-deal schools like USC’s Rossier School of Education and School of Social Work, Georgetown’s School of Nursing and Health Studies and UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and School of Government. Mr. Johnson said 2tor is largely responsible for the Rossier School’s ability to expand its student base from 75 to 1,500 online students in just two years. The program also jumped from 38th to 15th in education school rankings, he said.
What separates 2tor from its competitors is its social component. “We focused on building a robust social network so it feels much more like Facebook than BlackBoard and we focused on live streaming video so most of the classes on the platform are done in a live environment where you see the professor,” Mr. Johnson said. “You can raise your hand. You interact with them in the way that you would interact in a small group session in a class so it feels very different than all those other platforms because you’re really replicating the campus experience. You actually are showing up at a certain time and engaging with other students in the way that you would in a classroom—you just don’t have to be in South Central Los Angeles or Georgetown.”
2tor plans to announce a sixth university partnership this spring. The company is hiring for more than a dozen positions and an army of interns.