Announcing $1.5M Investment & Welcoming New Board Members

Posted by: Kate Forrester


panOpen announced yesterday that it has completed a $1.5M investment round led by Zen Group, LLC. The investment brings total seed financing in panOpen to $3M. The company said it will use the proceeds to support its growth and fund ongoing development. The company also announced that Jack Chorowsky, Chief Operating Officer of the KIPP Foundation, and Rafael Mayer, Managing Partner of Zen Group, have joined the panOpen Board of Directors.

“We are at a threshold moment for Open Educational Resources. Combined with the right tools, services, and economic model, they now serve as a foundation for next generation courseware, one that removes the barrier of cost while improving learning outcomes,” noted Dr. Brian Jacobs, the company’s founder and CEO, “the new investment and these outstanding board members provide tremendous support toward achieving mainstream use of OER.”

Improving educational outcomes, especially for economically-disadvantaged students, has long been a passion for Rafael Mayer. It has led to his deep involvement with the KIPP NYC schools, for which he serves as Board Chair. “Students are paying too much for textbooks. As college is an essential part of today’s world, access to high quality and affordable educational materials has become a major civil rights issue.” Mr. Mayer said, “panOpen’s model shows that it is possible to solve this problem and achieve a double bottom line. We are building a successful business that will bring material benefit to a broad range of students.”

Mr. Chorowsky brings decades of education experience to the panOpen board. Prior to joining the KIPP Foundation as its COO, Mr. Chorowsky held executive positions at Kaplan, Pearson, and KIPP NYC schools. “I’ve known Brian for years and have enjoyed watching panOpen grow from the seed of a transformative idea to a platform that’s now helping higher ed institutions and the students they serve realize OER’s true value. Brian and his team are poised to deliver on an ambitious vision and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”

About panOpen:
Founded in 2013 by serial edtech entrepreneur Dr. Brian Jacobs, panOpen provides the technology and financial services that higher educational institutions require to adopt open educational resources (OER). Its platform offers institutionally-specific OER content libraries, advanced customization and remixing tools, student analytics, universal access to OER, and a financial compensation system to support OER sustainability. It aligns the economic and operational interests of stakeholders (faculty, administrators, and students), and creates a foundation for increasing student academic success while dramatically reducing costs. For ongoing news, visit or follow us on Twitter at @panopen.