Multinational media company Bertelsmann has partnered with international investors and education companies to create the University Ventures Fund, an agency focused on creating partnerships with leading schools and universities in Europe and the U.S. in order to jointly develop innovative higher education programs on both sides of the Atlantic. One of the partnership programs will be with Irvine-based Brandman University.
The aim of the fund and the programs it will foster is to combine all the best aspects of business, education and entrepreneurialism, including investment capital, management expertise of the private sector and the academic integrity and brand reputation of traditional institutions.
Thomas Rabe, Bertelsmann’s chairman and CEO, said the emergence of new digital technologies and the growing role of the private sector represent “megatrends” that Bertelmann is keen to take full advantage of.
“Education in general, and services for educational providers in particular, represent a promising and custom-made opportunity for a global media and services company like Bertelsmann,” Rabe said. “We are expanding into a new high-growth business, and after a careful analysis of the market, deliberately opted for an entrepreneurial concept that relies on building the business gradually. At Bertelsmann, entrepreneurial ideas become reality; the partnership with University Ventures is an excellent example.”
The fund already has a committed capital of more than $100 million, and is managed by a team of investors who specialize in higher education capital. It has also undertaken a number of individual education investment projects in Europe and the U.S. for the next few years, one of which is the partnership with Brandman University, a private institution within the Chapman University system.
The partnership is focused on establishing a new college that will provide easier access to higher education for the Hispanic population. Degree courses will be dual-language, thereby making English proficiency as equally important and achievable as the objectives of the individual degree programs.
“To address structural changes in higher education that will occur in the U.S. and EU over the next five to 10 years, University Ventures plans to build transformative education service organizations that partner with highly regarded institutions to develop better outcomes for students at a lower cost,” said University Ventures’s Daniel Pianko. “Given Bertelsmann’s 175-plus year history and expertise in high quality content and services, we can’t think of a better partner to help University Ventures develop learning solutions for the 21st century.”
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