Published On: Sun, Jun 20th, 2021

Nexford University lands $10.8M pre-Series A to scale the stretchable remote training platform

Two surpassing problems face a aloft preparation zone globally — affordability and relevance. Whether we live in Africa, Europe or a U.S., a vital reason since people don’t go to university or college or even dump out is since they can't means price fees. On a other hand, aptitude shows a outrageous opening between what normal universities learn and what tellurian employers indeed demeanour for. It’s not a tip that universities concentration a bit too many on theory.

Over a past few years, there has been a presentation of a series of choice credential providers perplexing to yield students with a required skills to acquire and make a living. Nexford University is one such platform, and today, it has sealed a $10.8 million pre-Series A appropriation round.

Dubai-based VC Global Ventures led a new round. Other investors embody Future Africa’s new thematic account (focused on education), angel investors and family offices. Unnamed VCs from 10 countries, including a U.S., U.K., France, Dubai, Switzerland, Qatar, Nigeria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, also took part.

To date, Nexford has lifted $15.3 million, following a initial tranche of $4.5 million in seed appropriation lifted dual years ago.

Fadl Al Tarzi launched Nexford University in 2019. The tech-enabled university is stuffing affordability and aptitude gaps by providing entrance to peculiarity and affordable education.

“That way, we get a best of both worlds,” CEO Al Tarzi pronounced to TechCrunch. “You get unsentimental skills that we can put to work immediately or for your destiny career while actively gripping a job. So a whole knowledge is designed as a training as a use model.”

Nexford Unversity lets students investigate during their possess pace. Once they request and get certified into possibly a grade module or a march program, they select how quick or delayed they wish a module to be.

Nexford University

Fadl Al Tarzi (CEO, Nexford University). Image Credits: Nexford University

The CEO says whatever students learn on a height is directly germane to their jobs. Currently, Nexford offers undergraduate degrees in business administration; 360° marketing; AI and automation; building a tech startup; business analytics; business in rising markets; digital transformation; e-commerce; and product management. Its connoisseur degrees are business administration, modernized AI, e-commerce, hyperconnectivity, sustainability and universe business.

Nexford’s price structure is really opposite from normal universities since it’s modeled monthly. Its accredited degrees cost between $3,000 to $4,000 paid in monthly installments. In Nigeria, for instance, an MBA costs about $160 a month, while a bachelor grade costs $80 a month. But a locate for a monthly installment structure means a faster a tyro graduates, a reduction they pay.

What’s it like training with Nexford University?

Nexford University doesn’t offer standardised and fanciful tests or assignments as many normal universities do. Al Tarzi says a association employs what he calls a competency-based preparation indication where students infer poise by operative on unsentimental projects.

For instance, a tyro operative on an accounting march will many expected need to emanate a PL statement, investigate change sheets and brand where a blunder is to scold it. The height afterwards gives a tyro opposite scenarios display companies with opposite revenues and responsibility levels. The task? To analyse and remove certain ratios to assistance make clarity of that association is essential and a other section economics involved.

Though Nexford plays in a edtech space, Al Tarzi doesn’t consider a association is an edtech company. As a protected and accredited online university, Nexford has a outrageous volume of automation opposite a classification and provides students with support from expertise and career advisors.

After charity degrees, Nexford puts on a chain hats by regulating a graduates with partner employers.

There’s a large necessity of jobs in Nigeria, and notwithstanding a high unemployment, it’s indeed formidable to find extremely competent entry-level graduates. So Nexford has carried out several partnerships where employers unite their employees or soon-to-be employees for upskilling and rescaling purposes.

An painting is with Sterling Bank, a internal bank in a country. Most Nigerian banks have yearly routines where they sinecure graduates and put them on weeks-long training programs. Sterling Bank employs any claimant it feels did good after the collateral complete (eight weeks in many cases) programs.

So what Nexford has finished is to partner with Sterling to account a price for high propagandize leavers. When these students go by Nexford’s programs for a initial year, they start to get part-time placements during Sterling. Upon graduation, they get a pursuit in a bank.

“That saves Sterling a training cost and a price fee is roughly equal to a training that they supposing for students. Also, students start profitable behind once they get placed, so it’s a win-win.”

Image Credits: Nexford University

Nexford University has learners from 70 countries, with Nigeria a biggest marketplace yet. Nexford also has blue-chip partnerships with Microsoft, LinkedIn Learning and IBM to yield entrance to tools, courses and programmes to urge a training experience.

One of a vital gains of this training knowledge is how it prepares people for remote jobs. Nexford is bullish on a practical skills grid, where people will get jobs remotely regardless of their plcae on a platform.

“Across Sub-Saharan Africa by a year 2026, there’s gonna be a necessity of about 100 million university seats as a outcome of outrageous enlargement in girl race not met by enlargement and supply. Even if we wish to build universities fast, we wouldn’t be means to accommodate a demand. And that spirals down to a pursuit market. We don’t think a internal economy will furnish adequate jobs in Nigeria, for instance. But we wish to capacitate people to get remote jobs opposite a universe and not necessarily have to migrate.” 

Last year, Nexford’s revenues grew by 300%. This year, a association hopes to triple a distance of a enrollment from final year, a CEO said.

Nexford is large on conceptualizing students’ curriculum formed on research of what their employer needs. Al Tarzi tells me that a association always follows a Big Data approach, seeking themselves, “How do we find out what employers worldwide are looking for and keep a curriculum alive and relevant?”

“We rise exclusive record that enables us to investigate pursuit vacancies as good as several other information sources; use AI to know how … information sets and build a curriculum formed on those findings. So, in short, we start with a finish in mind,” he answers.

The association is penetrating on improving a record regardless. It wants to analyse skills some-more accurately and automate some-more functions to raise user experience. That’s what a appropriation will be used for in further to fuelling a informal enlargement skeleton (particularly in Asia) and investing in enlargement and product development. Per a latter, the online university says it will be rising partner programs with some-more employers globally to facilitate both chain and upskilling and rescaling. 

Merging both worlds of tech and a normal university indication is no easy feat. The former is about efficiency, user-centricity and product, among others. The latter embodies acerbity and continues to loiter behind fast-paced innovation. While there’s been a bang in edtech, many startups try to by-pass a industry’s bureaucracy by rising an app or a MOOC. Nexford’s indication of using a degree-granting, licensed, accredited and regulated university is some-more severe though in it lies so many opportunity.

Iyin Aboyeji, Future Africa ubiquitous partner CEO, understands this. It’s one reason since a association is a initial investment out of Future Africa’s soon-to-be-launched account focused on a destiny of training and since he believes a association is a game-changer for aloft preparation in Africa.

“During a pandemic, while many universities in Nigeria were shut down due to work disputes, Nexford was already delivering an innovative and affordable new indication of online aloft preparation designed for a skills-based economy.”  

For ubiquitous partner during Global Ventures Noor Sweid, Nexford University is redressing a mismatch between a supply of talent and a final of today’s digital economy. “We are thrilled to partner with Fadl and a Nexford group on their tour toward expanding entrance to concept peculiarity aloft preparation in rising markets,” she said.

Mapping out one edtech company’s $200M gamble on lifelong learning

About the Author