Zen Group invests in panOpen

panOpen closed a second investment round led by Zen Group, LLC. The company, which provides a learning platform for educational resources, has raised $4.5 million to date.


New York, NY (January 26, 2016) — panOpen has announced the official launch of its learning platform exclusively based on Open Educational Resources (OER), with nearly 100 pilot programs in place at colleges and universities nationwide. panOpen’s comprehensive application allows faculty and students to quickly and easily use trusted, high-quality materials that enhance their course curriculum and overall learning experience. With additional tools for faculty such as content customization, LMS integration, self-grading quizzes, note-taking, real-time chat and data analytics, panOpen offers a forward-thinking and unique user-experience unlike any other OER platform.

January also marks the close of the second investment round led by Zen Group, LLC, bringing panOpen’s total initial financing to $4.5 million. panOpen plans to use the proceeds to support platform development and institutional outreach.

panOpen was founded by Brian Jacobs and is rooted in his longstanding efforts to improve equity and access in higher education, particularly as they concern learning materials. Prior to panOpen, Brian taught at Cornell University, where he also received a Ph.D., and founded Akademos, a leading virtual bookstore and marketplace provider. panOpen is also a graduate of the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator powered by Techstars.

“Accessibility and affordability are central issues in the national discussion concerning higher education,” said Brian Jacobs, CEO and Founder of panOpen. “Supported with the right digital tools, OER is now emerging as a compelling alternative to traditional textbooks, greatly reducing costs and improving student access and outcomes.”

Following the U.S. Department of Education’s 2015 launch of #GoOpen, a campaign to encourage states, school districts, and educators to use openly licensed educational materials, we can expect to see colleges and universities increasingly adopting OER to help reduce textbook costs. Beyond cost savings, OER improves content flexibility in the classroom, giving faculty the ability to keep curricula current and to keep pace with industry advancements to ensure students are career-ready when they graduate.

“Most students cannot afford to spend thousands of dollars on textbooks every year. Instead, they opt to purchase cheaper, out of date textbooks, or no books at all,” said Jeremy Nicholson, Instructor in Biology at one of the piloting institutions, South Plains College in Levelland, Texas. “Using high-quality open educational resources, we can ensure that every student has access to a current text that is integrated into the curriculum, while saving them a significant amount of money.”

panOpen can be used for any subject. The company has also developed enhanced and interactive “pillar” resources in the areas of history, chemistry, economics, physics, biology, psychology, business and finance. Additional pillar courses are in development. Faculty can access, edit and contribute content at no cost. Students are charged a small flat subscription fee per course for perpetual access; typically this reduces costs by 75% or more over their previous conventional textbooks. The content is also freely downloadable, printable and shareable to all. panOpen is designed to make OER affordable and offers faculty and schools various financing options.

In addition to providing open access to peer-reviewed OER, platform features include:
· Easy LMS integration and gradebook syncing
· Actionable data and reporting analytics
· Innovative tools: self-grading quizzes, note-taking, highlighting capabilities, flashcards and real-time chat
· Revenue sharing model that incentivizes authors, faculty adapters and editors and technology partners.

To learn more about panOpen, please visit http://panopen.com

To request a free demo, please call 844-200-1511

About panOpen
Designed by educators for educators, panOpen is an easy-to-use platform that solves textbook affordability challenges. panOpen’s comprehensive platform provides open access to trusted learning materials founded on openly-licensed educational resources (OER), allowing faculty to curate and customize high-quality, peer-reviewed content that enhances their curriculum. Supported by a robust set of digital tools and actionable data, panOpen’s open higher ed publishing model dramatically reduces textbook costs for students while improving learning outcomes, all within a sustainable platform designed to help students and faculty realize their potential.