Japanese MOOC startup raises $1.5 million from investors


schoo_logoSee the original story in Japanese.

Schoo is a Tokyo-based MOOC (massive open online course) startup providing livestreamed lectures on the internet. The startup announced today that it has raised 152 million yen (approximately $1.52 million) from Itochu Technology Ventures, Incubate Fund, and Anri. This follows its previous funding from Incubate Fund and Anri back in October of 2012.

Schoo was launched back in January 2012 under the mission of “ridding the world of graduations[1]. It provides more than 130 different online courses, and to date it has more than 40,000 users, mostly office workers in their late 20s and early 30s.

With these funds the startup plans to hire an engineer and content director, and develop a system for giving lectures to other schools or companies.


In the last several months, we’ve seen more than a few MOOC startups raising funds in Japan, including Smart Education, Mana.bo, and Street Academy.

We heard from the startup’s CEO Kenshiro Mori regarding their business model:

With our service concept, we aim to earn money by making the most of livecast programming and interaction with users, and also generating revenue streams from other sources including e-commerce services. […] We’re aiming to make our service into a platform, where we can consider possible monetization models such as charging a commission fee for item sales.

We need to adopt a progressive business model. We’ll add more attractive features for our paying users, and focus on acquiring more users, and improve our conversion and retention rates.

Schoo is expecting to surpass a million users by this December. Stay tuned to see whether the startup can disrupt the conventional concepts in this space in Japan.

  1. That’s a translation, and obviously not really very catchy in English.  ↩