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Edtech Startup Reimagines The MBA With Founders Of Wikipedia, YouTube, Waze And Shazam

Augment—an edtech startup—has secured funding to design an innovative, accessible program taught by tech titans

Sat Dec 2 2023

After raising $6 million in funding, the startup Augment is making prestigious business education globally accessible through offering a program taught by renowned tech founders.

Program professors include Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, Steve Chen, founder of YouTube, and Chris Barton, founder of Shazam, who bring first-hand entrepreneurial experience to the classroom. 

The edtech company’s MBA blends the flexibility of online learning with the sought-after elements of full-time MBA programs, which includes prioritizing a strong alumni network and a breadth of career opportunities.

The first cohort reached more than 500 members from all continents.

“Our ambition is to offer a credible, flexible, and practical business education that matches the excellence of schools such as Harvard and Stanford. Augment's vision is to set a new standard for online MBAs, making high-quality business universally accessible,” says Ariel Renous, co-founder, and CEO of Augment. 

With its new funding, the Paris-based company will strengthen its MBA curriculum through new, specialized classes, as well as investing in its community offering.

The average duration of the Augment MBA is four months and costs $1,750. 

Augment advertises this program for aspiring entrepreneurs, established business owners, and restless professionals who want to quickly evolve in their roles. 

The curriculum features video lectures from top business leaders as well as multiple interactive case studies, assignments, and downloadable resources. It also provides office hours and community events to elevate the online format.

Augment claims its lectures go beyond academic theory, providing students with practical insights into building and running successful businesses. 

While the modules appear relatively traditional, such as Business Strategy and Innovation and Leadership, the big-name lectures are a nod to its practical and modern nature. 

The Business Strategy and Innovation course covers the Customer Discovery Journey: Lessons from Airbnb, while the Netflix and the Leadership course host lectures in Running Effective Meetings: Amazon’s Two Pizzas Rule. 

“Many educational systems lack professors who teach from practical experience rather than textbooks,” explains Steve Chen, founder of YouTube and instructor at Augment.

Other faculty members include New York Times bestselling finance author Kelly Richmond, Google’s first chief of staff Ann Hiatt, and managing director at Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Bend Stephan.

Augment’s co-founders, Ariel and Roy Wellner, say they devised this innovative program after realizing traditional academic training didn’t match real-world business needs. 

Having graduated business school and entered the professional market, the founders recognized this mismatch and saw how traditional MBA modules were failing to adapt to modern professional needs for flexibility and accessibility. 

Ariel and Roy’s vision and the entire global community of professionals are coming together in the real-world as the program is organizing its first alumni events in London and New York.