2tor Elevates Chip Paucek to CEO, Shifts Headquarters to Maryland

1/4/12Follow @jpruth

Education technology startup 2tor in New York said Wednesday it appointed president and co-founder Chip Paucek as its CEO. John Katzman, the founding CEO, remains with the company as executive chairman. With Paucek’s appointment, 2tor’s headquarters shifts to its Landover, MD offices. The company will maintain its New York operations and also has offices in Chapel Hill, NC; Hong Kong; and Los Angeles.

Venture-backed 2tor created a framework for universities to offer graduate degree programs online. The company’s technology is used by institutions such as Georgetown University for its nursing school and the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School with more programs on the way. “For 2012 we will launch two additional [academic categories] in the fall,” Paucek says. It is too early to disclose which new schools plan to use 2tor’s platform, he says.

In addition to changes at the top, the company also plans to add up to 100 employees over the next twelve months. 2tor currently has a staff of 350. “We’re going to be hiring like crazy,” Paucek says.

Thus far 2tor has raised $62.5 million since its founding in 2008. Its investors include Bessemer Venture Partners, City Light Capital, and Redpoint Ventures. Even with new hires planned and the expected expansion into new schools, the company is in no hurry to seek more capital, Paucek says.

Although for-profit institutions such as University of Phoenix have long been heavyweights in online learning, Paucek believes the adoption of his company’s technology by nonprofit universities speaks to a growing change in the way students want to be educated. “When top tier schools embrace this new modality, we think it’s very disruptive,” he says.

2tor plans to compete by adding new academic programs this year, such as public administration and public health. “We’re doing everything we can to bring that university experience to the online space,” Paucek says. Potential future graduate programs may include pharmacy, international affairs, accounting, and computer science, he says. The company will also explore bringing its platform to undergraduate programs in 2013.

Growing a business’s size and scope seems to be in Paucek’s veins. From 2007 to 2008, he was CEO of Smarterville Inc., the producer of Hooked on Phonics education material. Paucek says his work with Smarterville included scaling up its staff and revenue. He served as co-CEO of Cerebellum Corp. from 1993 to 2003, his first venture-backed business. Cerebellum produces educational programs, including a PBS show called Standard Deviants.

Paucek says his previous roles as a CEO helped him prepare for his new duties at 2tor as the company leverages its technology to disrupt the online learning market. “We are producing quite a bit of content on behalf of our university partners,” he says. “The lesson learned in my career is to focus,” he says. “We are staying uniquely focused at 2tor.”

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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