Joshua Broggi believes three new colleges must be established every day for the next ten years in order to meet student demand. He is currently building Woolf, which he claims to be the first platform that can launch an accredited digital college and manage it.
Woolf is seeking to remove the "sophisticated burden" of accreditation. This means that programs or institutions are recognized as meeting certain standards and criteria. Woolf hopes to become the "UC" for less-known institutions who want to improve their curricula, offer credit and be similar to the University of California (UC), system. Woolf currently has seven pilot customers in seven countries.
Broggi's vision for accreditation as a service and the early traction helped the startup secure a seed round of $7.5 million led by Todd Jackson at First Round Capital. Investors included Connect Ventures' Sitar Teli; IOVC's Shuonan Chan; All Access Fund's Shaan puri; and Tribe Capital's Jonathan Hsu.
Accreditation debates often focus on one extreme: those who believe that a four-year degree is not enough and those who believe that accreditation is the only way to be successful. This is a gross oversimplification. There is more overlap than you might think when it comes down to how entrepreneurs view the future of education.
Woolf University is not competing with startups that offer non-accredited education alternatives. Woolf is instead looking to be their future customers.
Optionality has been the buzzword in today's tech world when it comes to capital raising or other types of capital. The same applies to the education options that students should have access. Broggi's main argument is that tech bootcamps and newer colleges will eventually have to offer an accredited option to attract customers.
Ethos-wise, both sides seem to agree that students need a wide range of resources. Traditional, one-size fits all learning is not effective. Tobia De Angelis founded Strive School in response to outdated STEM courses being taught in European industries. He argued that even though most universities in Europe are free or low-cost, accessibility does not equal effectiveness. To prove that more options are necessary, he raised millions of dollars.