Coursera Couple Returns to Higher Ed With $14.5M to Recreate In-Person Learning, Online

Pandemic closes school. Students go home. Remote classes falter. Child is disengaged. Parent builds edtech.

So goes the origin story of many education startups born this year, like ClassEDU, which raised $16 million to put some oomph in Zoom classrooms. It was started by one of the co-founders of Blackboard, now a household name in education technology.

Now, a couple with similar industry cred has a similar vision—along with plenty of funding.

“We want to build from the ground up an inclusive learning system for students and faculty, one that can recreate engaging, live learning experiences online,” says Dan Avida.

Avida is the husband of Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller, and one of the first board members of the company that helped put the spotlight on massive online open courses, or MOOCs. The couple is no longer with Coursera, which is now valued at $2.5 billion. But they are not done

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How can this couple save for their son’s higher education and their own retirement?

Sanjay and Maya.

Tijana Martin/The Globe and Mail

Since coming to Canada from India in 2016, Sanjay and Maya have found well-paying jobs, bought a large condo in Toronto and had a child. He is age 35, she is 32.

Both are professionals, bringing in a combined $300,000-plus a year in salary. Sanjay earns another $15,000 a year in income from his business, which he hopes to expand.

“We have assets across Canada and in India, spanning equities, bonds and real estate,” Sanjay writes in an e-mail. While they are both well educated, “financially, we believe there’s so much more we can and should do,” he writes. “The last few years were so unpredictable in the stock market that most of the time we spent on the sidelines.”

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Their questions: “What should be our portfolio structure to achieve our goals?” Sanjay asks. Their long-term goals include

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