Boundless, a service that curates free online content for college students, announced today it has raised $8 million in funding. The service uses open educational resources (OER), free digital education materials, to make free content available to students.
The company wants to make textbooks obsolete by offering study guides and other educational content. Right now, Boundless offers study materials in Biology, Psychology, and Economics, which are priced lower than textbooks. Co-founder Brian Balfour says that Boundless curates OER content based on a student’s assignments.
“We build the product directly for the student and therefore also market to them directly. We want to give students [an alternative] to their expensive assigned text,” said Balfour in an email to VentureBeat.
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The company has already been slapped with a few lawsuits from textbook publishers. Boundless countered, saying that it’s not taking away from the publishing business but instead offering free content already available.
While Boundless claims that it helps parse the “unstructured and not organized” OER data, nothing is stopping students from finding OER content on their own. The service offers more than 600 free “open textbooks” that students can use as well as reference guides for studying different subjects.
One problem with Boundless is that, while it markets itself as a “textbook replacement” service, unless the material corresponds precisely with what’s being taught in a classroom, students will still have purchase a professor-mandated textbook.
Venrock led the $8 million first round, with participation from Kepha Partners, Founder Collective, and Nextview Ventures. The company’s total funding is now $10 million.
Boundless is based in Boston, Mass.