People seeking to increase their business skills and knowledge now have a new way of accessing quality instruction without attending MBA classes at Stanford or INSEAD., a new e-learning service launched earlier this week by a team from Russia, provides courses from leading professors and expert guest lecturers – from London Business School Adjunct Professor Dominic Houlder to Merrill Lynch Director Arie Kravchin – in addition to publicly available lectures from Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Ballmer and Steve Blank among other business celebrities.

Each course consists of videos, slides, and reading materials for every lecture, along with tests. A progress bar fills in with every step the student makes towards the final exam and his or her certificate.

Eduson addresses the needs of dozens of millions of business professionals from emerging countries who cannot afford to pay large sums and stop their careers for two years to earn a traditional MBA. “While 60 million professionals from BRIC countries need business knowledge to advance their careers, the Stanford MBA program accepts less than 400 students a year,” said Eduson CEO and co-founder Daria Zimina.

“My conclusion is pretty straightforward – several million people will be learning online soon. And Eduson comes as a disruption to exploit that market,” she added.

This past February, Eduson secured approximately $1 million in funding from Elena Masolova – who co-founded Groupon Russia in 2010 – and other unnamed angel investors. The details of the deal have not been disclosed.

The startup is expecting to generate revenue from Day One. One third of the courses are free, and enrollment fees are charged for others, with the first lecture in each course always offered as a free trial. Eduson then pays royalties to its lecturers.

Eduson’s mostly Russian team gained successful startup experience in the US and Brazil as well as Russia.

“Now most Russian startup entrepreneurs are fighting for a small domestic market, often with clones of foreign models. We at Eduson prefer to risk going global and do something new. That is a very Russian attitude, by the way. Isn’t it nice?” Masolova commented jokingly in an exchange with East-West Digital News.


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