The Minerva Project, an edtech startup that aims to create a new breed of elite university, announced that it is in the process of raising a $70 million Series B from a Chinese investment consortium led by tutoring service provider TAL Education Group with participation of Yongjin Group and ZhenFund and its existing investor Benchmark Capital.
This round brings the total funding raised to $95 million. Benchmark Capital was the sole investor in Minerva’s $25 million round in April 2012.
The Chinese consortium invested $25 million in this round with TAL contributing $18 million, and Yongjin Group and ZhenFund contributing the remaining $7 million. To date, 70% of the Series B round has been allocated and 30% will be allocated by the beginning of 2015.
Founded by Ben Nelson, the Minerva Project is a hybrid between online education platform and the experience of living on campus. Minerva creates dormitory clusters in major cities across the globe and encourages its students to spend their semesters in different cities.
The Minerva Project just recently opened its doors to a first class of 29 students. The rate of acceptance for this class was 2.8% which is lower than any Ivy league university and part of Minerva’s mission to become an elite education provider.
The first class is currently not paying tuition, but students will eventually have to pay between $10.000 to $20.000 per year for a bachelor’s degree which would still be significantly lower compared to the established institutions in higher education the Minerva Project aims to compete with.