San Francisco-based MissionU, a self-described college alternative that allows students to graduate debt-free, has raised $8.5 million in Series A funding. FirstMark Capital led the round with participation from First Round Capital, University Ventures, Box Group, Rethink Education, Learn Capital, John Doerr and Omidyar Network.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – September 14, 2017 – MissionU, the college alternative that gives students the skills and experience needed to succeed in today’s competitive working world while allowing them to graduate debt-free with no upfront tuition, today announced an $8.5 million Series A funding round. This latest round is led by FirstMark Capital, with participation from existing investors First Round Capital, University Ventures, Box Group, Rethink Education and Learn Capital and new investors John Doerr and Omidyar Network. This brings the company’s total funding to $11.5 million.
MissionU is led by education non-profit Pencils of Promise founder Adam Braun, who created the company with co-founder and Chief Product Officer Mike Adams. Inspiration for MissionU struck when Adam saw his wife’s struggle to pay back more than $100,000 in student loans. A closer look at today’s education climate revealed a broken system that perpetuates a burdensome student debt problem that is plaguing the entire country.
The company will use this latest round of funding to ramp up on growth across both online and in-person courses, enabling more student cohorts to join the program. Additionally, the company will be expanding to new cities beyond San Francisco in 2018.
“Insurmountable debt is the biggest barrier to students getting the education they deserve, and ultimately, meaningful careers. Our goal with MissionU is to make higher education more affordable, equitable, accessible and aligned with the experiences people need to keep up with modern work demands,” said Adam Braun, co-founder and CEO of MissionU. “It’s unconscionable that student debt is the only debt in the country that can’t be discharged through bankruptcy. By collecting some of the best minds around the country, we’ve developed a program that makes it easier for students to afford higher education that teaches them hard, soft and technical skills relevant to today’s workforce. We are arguably the only institution that is only successful when our students are.”
Through its existing partnerships, MissionU works side-by-side with today’s top technology companies including Spotify, Lyft, Uber, Warby Parker, Harry’s and Casper, to formulate curriculum aimed at getting students hired in the high-growth industries of tomorrow. Students gain exposure to industry leaders and work on real-world projects, and partner companies get early access to MissionU graduates.
“Until now, the traditional path from high school into the workforce was obtaining a Bachelor’s degree, which in actuality, isn’t one-size-fits-all,” said Matt Turck, a Managing Director of FirstMark Capital. “MissionU has a unique opportunity to change the higher education model and bridge the gap so that modern education and the future of work are finally aligned. MissionU is rethinking college and providing a forward-thinking, world-class education that is unparalleled to any other.”
On the heels of the MissionU’s funding, the company’s first cohort, which generated more than 4,700 applicants, began last week in San Francisco to usher a new generation of students eschewing the traditional route into the working world. The company is now accepting applications for its January 2018 cohort in San Francisco on Data Analytics + Business Intelligence, which interested students can apply to here: http://www.missionu.com/program
For more information, please visit www.missionu.com
MissionU is the college alternative that gives students the skills and experience needed to succeed in today’s working world. The program requires no upfront tuition, allowing students to graduate debt-free, and is aimed at lowering student debt and closing the skills gap. Led by Pencils of Promise founder Adam Braun, who created the company with co-founder and Chief Product Officer Mike Adams, MissionU is the only program that combines general education with specialized skills training to prepare individuals for real-world jobs. Based in San Francisco, MissionU partners with world-class technology companies including Spotify, Lyft, Uber, Warby Parker, Harry’s and Casper so students have access to informed curriculum while cultivating meaningful relationships with industry leaders. MissionU has raised $11.5 million in funding to date from investors including FirstMark Capital, First Round Capital and more. For additional information, please visit www.missionu.com.