2tor taps into $10M financing

The notion of kids going off to college brings to mind the image of a small car packed with clothes, a computer and several boxes of instant noodles.

New York-based 2tor Inc. a company that works with universities to provide online degree programs, is working to make that road trip to college seem unnecessary.

2tor, which helps universities manage classes and degree programs online, last week raised $10 million in a Series A round led by Redpoint Ventures, and which included Novak Biddle Venture Partners and City Light Capital.

The company says it will use the funding to expand marketing and student recruitment. Currently, 2tor has partnered with the University of Southern California’s School of Education to launch MAT@USC, a graduate teaching program delivered online.

About 200 USC students are enrolled in the program, says 2tor COO Chip Paucek. He says that many of the students in the program live out of state. And if the students choose to, they can jump on a plane and walk along side their peers at graduation, he says.

The company is in talks to expand to other schools. The company’s aim is for universities to expand enrollment via online programs that would include undergrad, MBAs, engineering or nursing degrees.

Paucek, who’s the former CEO of Hooked on Phonics, admits that the current economic environment made fund-raising difficult.

“We started raising money in the worst of times for venture capital,” he says.

However, a tough economy is also what the company is counting on. Paucek says that there is currently a growing market in post-secondary education as people tend to return to school when the economy goes sour, he says. —Martha Sanchez