Minerva Project, a San Francisco, Calif.-based innovative university concept, announced the first of two closes in a Series B round that will generate $70M in new financing.
– TAL Education Group (NYSE: XRS), a K-12 after school tutoring services provider,
– ZhenFund, a seed fund in China,
– Yongjin Group, a holding company in various industries, and
– Benchmark Capital, a venture capital firm that made the original seed investment in 2012.
A second close will occur in the coming months. In conjunction with the funding, a representative from TAL will join Minerva Project’s Board.
The company intends to use the funds to scale operations.
Led by Ben Nelson, founder, chairman and CEO, Minerva Project aims to combine the best traditions of a research-based university while leveraging technologies. It operates the Minerva Schools at Keck Graduate Institute (KGI), an highly selective undergraduate program, whose founding class commenced courses in September 2014 with students from 14 countries and territories.
Minerva received 2,464 applications from students in 96 countries and territories and accepted every student who passed its high admissions bar – resulting in an acceptance rate of 2.8%.
It features a curriculum that emphasizes the development of key habits of mind and foundational concepts rather than knowledge dissemination with no introductory level classes involved, live interactive seminars of 19 students or fewer led by an accomplished professor via a proprietary technology platform. In addition, students live together in global student residences in major metropolitan cities around the world, rotating up to seven times during their four years at Minerva while classes are supplemented and complemented by cultural, social and civic experiences.
Tuition is $10,000 and applications and nominations are now being accepted for students interested in matriculating at the Minerva Schools at KGI in Fall 2015. Interested students can apply at https://minerva.kgi.edu/application/start/.