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Encore Career Institute Raises $15M Series A Co-Led by InterWest Partners and Granite Ventures


Encore Career Institute Raises $15M Series A Co-Led by InterWest Partners and Granite Ventures Jun 2011

Founded by The Sherry Lansing Foundation, Creative Artists Agency, and Entrepreneur Steve Poizner, Who Will Serve as CEO, Encore Partners with UCLA Extension to Offer Online Education to Baby Boomers

LOS ANGELES (June 23, 2011) — Encore Career Institute (Encore), a new, comprehensive online educational company, today announced that it has raised a $15 million Series A financing. The funding was co-led by two prominent venture capital firms: InterWest Partners and Granite Ventures. Encore also announced that Steve Poizner, the company's co-founder, will serve as CEO. Poizner is a highly successful technology entrepreneur, with a long history of leadership in education. He was previously elected statewide as California's Insurance Commissioner.

Encore will offer professional certificates and career counseling designed specifically for baby boomers transitioning to new careers or seeking to remain viable in today's job market. The company has established a partnership with UCLA Extension — the continuing education division of the University of California at Los Angeles — to serve as the licensed provider of program content for the company. Encore will offer courses and one-year certificate programs in a variety of careers, including finance, education, healthcare, and environmental sustainability.

"Encore is bringing together the educational excellence of one of the nation's great public universities with the technology and entrepreneurial spirit of the private sector," said Poizner. "As people's work lives grow longer and career changes become the norm, the need for online education will continue to grow rapidly. We believe this market is ripe for innovation. Encore is using social and mobile technology to create new models of online learning that will allow baby boomers to succeed in the next phase of their careers." Encore will use the Series A funding to develop its online learning, career guidance, and job placement programs. The company also announced that Tom Rosch, general partner at InterWest Partners, and Eric Zimits, managing director at Granite Ventures, will join the company's Board of Directors.

"Steve's record of building successful companies and his passion for education, combined with UCLA's educational resources, make Encore a very attractive investment opportunity," said Rosch. "I believe the company has the opportunity to dramatically expand and redefine the market for online education by specifically addressing the requirements of baby boomers, a large group with substantial unmet needs for continuing education."

Encore has established a partnership with UCLA Extension, the continuing education division of the University of California at Los Angeles. An early leader in online education, UCLA Extension will serve as the licensed provider of program content — and will develop new courses and certificate programs specifically designed for Encore. The company will also have access to educational programs currently offered in the UCLA Extension catalog. Development of programs and technology has commenced, with classes and services expected to begin in fall 2012.

The Sherry Lansing Foundation, which has pioneered work in late-career job training, was a motivating force behind the formation of Encore and, along with Creative Artists Agency (CAA), conceptualized the company. Together with Poizner, they formed a partnership with UCLA Extension to provide program content. A founding partner of Encore, CAA, the world's leading entertainment and sports agency, has extensive experience in marketing and brand-building and has long been actively involved in education initiatives on the local, state and national levels through the CAA Foundation, the agency's philanthropic arm. The agency will access its vast resources and expertise in these areas and others to market the new Encore program nationally.

Poizner has more than 20 years experience as a technology entrepreneur, starting and running companies in Silicon Valley. Prior to serving in elected office, Poizner founded and served as CEO of Strategic Mapping Inc., a software company that developed a program to display geographic data on digital maps. He then founded SnapTrack, Inc., which pioneered technology that put GPS receivers into cell phones.

Poizner later turned his focus to education, co-founding EdVoice, an educational nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public schools and serving the interests of K-12 children in California. He also served as a volunteer teacher in San Jose's Mount Pleasant High School teaching 12th-grade American Government. In 2003, Poizner co-founded the California Charter Schools Association.

Encore is developing next-generation learning tools that will utilize social and mobile technology to dramatically improve the online classroom experience. The company will offer baby boomers and other adults comprehensive one-year certificate programs that will provide them with the skills and counseling necessary to succeed in new career opportunities. Encore's students will have access to online learning, career guidance and job placement programs in multiple fields, including finance, education, health care, and environmental sustainability.

UCLA Extension is the continuing education division of the University of California at Los Angeles. UCLA Extension offers evening, weekend, and online courses and certificates for professionals in business, management, engineering, information systems, entertainment studies, public policy, public health, the humanities and many other fields. With an annual budget of $43 million, UCLA Extension is a completely self-supporting enterprise, receiving no state or campus funds. Excelling in its quality, innovation, and impact, UCLA Extension is considered one of the top programs of its type in the U.S. As one of the early adopters of online learning for continuing education, nearly one-fourth of the 90,000 annual enrolled students are receiving their education online through UCLA Extension programs and conferences. Find out more at uclaextension.edu.

For more than 30 years, InterWest (www.interwest.com) has partnered with exceptional entrepreneurs to build winning technology and life sciences companies. With more than 200 years of combined operating and investing experience, the firm's investing team has raised $2.8B, completed more than 70 IPOs, and participated in nearly 60 upside acquisitions. As the firm invests InterWest X, a $650M fund, the InterWest team continues to believe that providing capital is just the beginning of a long-term collaboration with entrepreneurs to turn their vision into a thriving company.

Granite Ventures has been helping early-stage technology companies build solid foundations for success since 1992. Granite has managed over $1 billion in venture capital and has invested in more than 100 private companies. They partner with promising and successful entrepreneurs to create businesses that have a competitive edge, and help those businesses achieve category leadership. More information can be found at http://www.granitevc.com.

Creative Artists Agency (CAA) is the world's leading entertainment and sports agency, representing many of the most successful professionals working in film, television, music, video games, theatre and the Internet, and provides a range of strategic marketing and consulting services to corporate clients. Within the emerging digital media marketplace, CAA has conceptualized and incubated new businesses on behalf of the agency and its clients, including Funny or Die, which has become the leading destination for comedy on the web; Whosay, a new social media service for celebrities and other influencers; and Creative Mobile Labs, which brings together the entertainment industry's top content creators with leading application developers to create innovative applications and content franchises for mobile platforms. CAA is also a leader in sports, representing more than 650 of the world's top athletes in football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, tennis and golf, and works in the areas of broadcast rights, corporate marketing initiatives, licensing and sports properties for sales/sponsorship opportunities. In addition, The Intelligence Group, a market research and trend forecasting company, is a division of CAA.

The Sherry Lansing Foundation (SLF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to cancer research, health and public education. Among the foundation's initiatives is the EnCorps Teachers Program, founded by Lansing to retrain retirees from the technology sector to serve as California public middle and high school science and math teachers. Another SLF initiative is PrimeTime LAUSD, a partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District designed to engage retirees in improving the state of public education through targeted volunteerism. Lansing is also a founder of Stand Up To Cancer, an initiative that funds "dream teams" of multi-institutional groups of scientists who work collaboratively to develop new treatments quickly in order to save lives.

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Jarrod Agen, Encore Career Institute, 646 734-1641
Eliot Dobris, InterWest Partners, 415-902-1241

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