GetSmarter was the first tech company founded by Paddock that worked closely with the university. File photo.
GetSmarter was the first tech company founded by Paddock that worked closely with the university. File photo.

Tech Startup behind the UCT Online High School of the Future

By Wesley Diphoko Time of article published Aug 1, 2021

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UCT recently launched, with fanfare, an online high school which has been widely welcomed as an intervention to enable access to high school education.

The academic credentials of UCT are known, what is less known is its ability to develop a digital platform for learning.

How did the university create a platform that will be used by young people to gain access to high school education?

The answer lies in a technology start-up founded by Robert Paddock, Valenture Institute.

The edutech start-up is the engine behind what UCT introduced as the first online high school backed by a university.

The start-up was founded in 2019 with a mission to create aspirational learning opportunities for high school students.

Valenture has now become a platform for education institutions to offer digital offering on top of their curriculum.

The UCT brand will play an important role for the growth of the Valenture Institute.

It will not be the first time an education tech start-up founded by Robert Paddock leverages UCT in its growth.

GetSmarter was the first tech company founded by Paddock that worked closely with UCT.

It started by offering UCT courses online to the public and later grew by partnering with academic institutions outside of South Africa.

GetSmarter was later acquired by 2U for $103 million (more than R14.9bn) in cash plus an earn-out provision of as much as $20m in cash.

Today, the edutech company led by Paddock boasts investments from some of the leading education and technology investment companies.

Recently Valenture Institute secured $7m in funding from GSV Ventures which is a global venture capital fund focused on early-stage entrepreneurial partnerships with exceptional global education technology companies like, most notably: Coursera, Photomath, ClassDojo, and Masterclass.

In a press statement released at the time, Deborah Quazzo of GSV Ventures added that the vision was clear and it was not just about the (Valenture Institute) online experience or blended-learning boutique campuses, but it was about evolving education in a way never seen before.

She revealed that they usually back companies they know have the potential to change the narrative of education and in this case, they felt Valenture Institute team had the grit, know-how, and innovative spirit to change the way we learners are educated around the globe in the future – be that primary, secondary or at tertiary level.

UCT has managed to secure a capable partner in addressing the access to education challenges in the high school sector.

IOL TECH

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