Inking 21 college partnerships in just four months validated Eleanor Cooper’s startup in a big way. It was enough to support 300 students this summer, leading them toward certification in skills like Facebook’s digital marketing tools and designing virtual and augmented reality visualizations with Unity.
In the fall, Cooper will leverage those college partnerships to serve about 2,000 students on the platform by her company, Pathstream, which offers career-based certifications to college students.
“They want career-oriented skills,” says Cooper, 30. “On a superficial level, they earn a certificate from a software company. But more than that, we offer them a connection to our employer community.”
Cooper’s program has also won over some key investors. Pathstream, based in San Francisco, has closed a Series A funding round of $12 million. This brings the company’s funding total to $13 million. Investors in the Series A include TDM Partners, Hereditas Capital Management, Bisk Ventures, New Ground Ventures and Rethink Education.
Founded in 2018, Pathstream is one of a handful of companies built and launched by Entangled Group, the part consultancy, part incubator, part investor group based in San Francisco. Other Entangled Group companies include ReUp Education, which raised $6 million in June, and Student Blueprint.
Pathstream will use its new injection of capital toward improving the platform for more students and developing more partnerships with corporations and colleges to offer certificate programs to students. The company is specifically targeted toward students without a bachelor’s degree, Cooper says.
The company has 35 full-time employees, half focused on curriculum and half on product and implementation. The company offers four certificates at the moment: The previously mentioned Facebook digital marketing and Unity VR and AR design visualization ones plus a Salesforce customer relationship essentials certificate and a Silicon Valley Bank business and data analytics certificate.
Partner schools include Miami Dade College in Florida, Harold Washington College in Chicago and Des Moines Area Community College in Iowa.
A Pathstream course spans three academic courses, lasting one or two semesters. The costs follow the typical price of courses at the colleges that offer Pathstream programs, and Pathstream offers multiple payment options. Sometimes the company makes money on student fees and some students are eligible for workforce grants, Cooper says.
“We wanted to take the kind of bootcamps you’d see in Seattle, New York and San Francisco and make these career paths available to others,” she says. “If you’re 25 and have a GED, you should have access to a broad set of new opportunities in the economy.”