Fidelis Education is a San Francisco based tech startup company. The company's goal is to help former military service men and women bridge the gap between a military, college, and a civilian career. Founded by a former United States Marine Corps marine and Harvard Business School graduate, Gunnar Counselman, Fidelis Education helps active duty soldiers get a headstart on a college education. Their program allows for soldiers to complete the first two years of general education requirements online while still on active duty. It then helps place them at a major university that’s inline with their civilian career goals. Fidelis closely tracks the students through graduation, and then helps them with career placement.
Fidelis belongs to a loosely-defined software and services industry that encompasses a diverse array of companies, offering a range of services to various types of non-profit post-secondary institutions. Many of these companies can be classified as end-to-end providers of distance learning solutions; that is, they provide non-profit institutions the necessary technical expertise, capital, marketing, and recruiting infrastructure to build and operate effective online and blended education programs. Some of these companies seek to serve the entire spectrum of non-profit post-secondary education, while others have carved out a specialized niche in a particular segment of the market.
Similar education-oriented startups include:
Flagship program - 2+2Plus
In this program, the company’s students will take lower-division courses at an affiliated online college while on active duty and then transfer to a traditional university. When they graduate, Fidelis will place them with employers looking to hire veterans. The name comes from how the system works: 2 years while in the service to complete their general education, 2 years at a brick-and-mortar institution, “plus” job placement.
The company is developing cloudbased software platform that allows users to manage personal and professional goals from matriculation, through graduation, and continuing into their careers. The platform allows each student to connect with a professional coach and a team of mentors who provide advice and encouragement through the entire process. The company expects to enroll its first class during 2012 and has been in discussions to partner with top-tier institutions like Harvard, Stanford, and MIT.
Fidelis is funded entirely through venture capital. The first round of funding raised $2.5 million from Accel and Novak Biddle, a firm that specializes in education startups. Phil Bronner of Novak Biddle Venture Partners noted that Fidelis is in the middle of a new trend of education companies partnering with prestigious, traditional colleges, but building a for-profit business around it.
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