Central regions | Finance, business | Technology & innovation

Russian steel tycoon backs online education

22 Aug '17
Illustrating the growing interest of Russian corporations in online education, Severgroup, a group of companies controlled by steel magnate Alexey Mordashov, has just acquired a 40% stake in Netology Group, East-West Digital News reported.

The shares were sold by previous Netology investors, the Russian funds Buran Venture Capital and InVenture Partners, which fully exited the company.

The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but EWDN has learned that Netology Group was valued in the deal at $50-$60m—which means that Severgroup’s investment amounted to more than $20m.

In addition to this transfer of shares, Severgroup injected a few million US dollars to support company development, a source close to the deal told EWDN.

Netology was founded in 2009 to provide online courses in the fields of Internet projects, web development and e-commerce. Five years later, the company merged with Foxford, a provider of online courses for secondary school students, to form the Netology Group. The deal valued the joint venture at $14.1m.

Currently, the group offers 187 education and training programs, which have been attended by more than 1.2 million people in Russia and beyond, according to the company. Netology Group’s ultimate goal is to build “a unique model of full online education cycle in Russia” covering “15 to 20 years of an individual’s life.”

The Russian online education market is currently estimated at approximately $3bn. Netology Group hopes to see its market share grow from some 1.5% today to 5% in 2021 and is also considering expanding to new markets outside Russia as mid- or long-term plans.
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