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Entrepreneurship education company acquires University of Antelope Valley to build ‘metauniversity’

Entrepreneurship education company acquires University of Antelope Valley to build ‘metauniversity’

Higher Ed Dive

Natalie Schwartz
July 12, 2022
Dive Brief: 
  • Genius Group, a Singapore-based ed tech company focused on entrepreneur education, announced Monday that it recently acquired the University of Antelope Valley, a for-profit institution in California that offers undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs.
  • The deal is one of several recent acquisitions Genius Group made after it went public in April, according to its announcement. Genius Group plans to grow the university’s campus and build a metauniversity — a digital replica of the institution in the metaverse — to deliver immersive higher education worldwide.
  • Company and university officials did not disclose the terms of the deal. But the company said it concludes more than $50 million in acquisitions since mid-April, including purchases of an in-home child care company in New Zealand, a primary and secondary school provider in South Africa and a property investors network in England.
Dive Insight: 
Genius Group got its start two decades ago by creating a personality quiz for entrepreneurs and running a resort for them in Bali with in-person training, according to the company’s website. In recent years, it has operated a subsidiary, GeniusU, as a wholly owned ed tech company that offers entrepreneur education worldwide.
Earlier this year, the company went public and subsequently acquired four companies to fuel growth. It plans to combine the education programs of its recent acquisitions with its existing offerings to create a “lifelong learning system,” according to the announcement. It touts more than 2.9 million students of almost every age in 200 countries.
Genius Group pursued the purchase of these institutions and firms because they share the company’s focus on entrepreneur education, the announcement said. In the University of Antelope Valley’s case, the institution offers degrees in fields such as business, sports management, nursing, psychology and education. It had about 730 students in fall 2020, most of whom were taking face-to-face classes, according to federal data.
The founders of the university, Marco and Sandra Johnson, lauded the acquisition in a statement. “We are so excited about the additional resources, students and faculty members that Genius Group can bring to University of Antelope Valley,” they said.
Company and university officials did not immediately respond to questions about what a metauniversity would look like or how Genius Group plans to grow the campus. But it wouldn’t be the first higher education institution to dabble in the metaverse, which describes a collection of virtual and augmented reality technologies meant to offer an immersive digital experience.
Ten U.S. colleges, including South Dakota State University, recently signed up to create digital replicas of their campuses that students can access with VR headsets, EdSurge reported. With funding from Facebook’s parent company, Meta, the project aims to offer students VR tools in their classes and enable them to interact with one another through digital avatars.
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