Female-Founded Startup Ranku Secures $650,000 Investment From Microsoft Ventures and Others
Founded in June 2013, Ranku aims to make it easier to find, compare and research online degree programs.
By Betsy Mikel (Contributing Writer, Women 2.0)
In September, Mark Cuban invested $500,000 in Ranku when the company was only 3 months old. Ranku — which aims to be the Kayak of online degrees by helping students find and compare reputable colleges — just announced another high-profile investor: Microsoft Ventures.
Both Cuban and general manager of Microsoft Ventures Rahul Sood have observed that traditional for-profit degree programs don’t have students’ interests in mind and are far too expensive. “It’s also a personal mission of mine to help disrupt education globally,” said Sood. “So when I saw that Kim created Ranku we decided to do the deal and help her build the business.”
Before she started the company, co-founder Kim Taylor spoke with Microsoft about her idea to make it easier for potential students to compare online degree programs. Matt Wallaert, a Behavioral Scientist at Bing, encouraged her to start building it immediately. A few weeks later Taylor moved to New York with childhood friend Cecilia Retelle and founded Ranku.
Ranku will use the $650,000 investment to continue to build the business, which focuses on public, private, and state schools that provide online degree programs. The website helps potential students compare costs and find a degree that suits their needs.
“Taking that next step to go back to school is not an easy one,” said Taylor. “And the overwhelming hunt for the perfect online degree can be just as daunting. As online education is becoming the norm, we expect Ranku’s search engine to be a key part of students’ decision-making process. We look forward to working with Microsoft Ventures to expand our support for students on the brink of making decisions about their future.”
Congrats Ranku! Where do you see the future of online education going?
Betsy Mikel is a freelance copywriter and content strategist who helps brands, businesses and entrepreneurs tell their stories. A journalist at heart, her curiosity drives her to find something new to learn every single day. Follow her on Twitter at @betsym.