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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

December 13, 2007 at 12:00 AM

Kal Raman’s learning startup stepping out

As it begins its second year of business, Bellevue-based InfiLearn.com is undergoing big changes.

In the last week or so, the ambitious startup changed its name to GlobalScholar.com and launched a consumer-focused tutoring service. It lets tutors list their services and hosts online tutoring sessions on its platform, in exchange for a commission.

That’s one of three components to the business hatched a year ago by Kal Raman, a former drugstore.com chief executive and Amazon.com senior vice president. The company has grown to about 100 people, roughly half in Bellevue and the rest in Chennai, India.

GlobalScholar also developed a learning management system that it’s offering to school districts and governments. It sounds like a major customer deal will be announced shortly.

Finally, the company is developing educational search services, including “CollegeFinder,” a university research tool that incorporates Microsoft’s mapping technology.

The company has funding from Ignition Partners and Knowledge Universe, a network of education ventures led by Michael Milken, the former junk-bond tycoon whose late 1980s indictment led to a crackdown on insider trading.

Update: Milken’s office didn’t like the paragraph above and suggested that readers may infer that he was found guilty of insider trading. To be clear, Milken was indicted on 98 counts of fraud and racketeering in 1989 but reached a plea deal in 1990, admitting felony counts of conspiracy, securities and mail fraud, violating federal securities reporting requirements, filing false information with regulators and aiding the filing of a false tax return.

Milken’s story is fascinating. He’s recast himself as a philanthropist and been generous toward education.

Yet another contribution he made to society was galvanizing the public to address outrageous Wall Street behavior. Unfortunately, it didn’t last and a few years after Milken’s name faded from the headlines we had the Enron era and now we’re back into it with the financial meltdown.

For Milken’s side of the story, here’s the link his office provided.

Here are a few stories we ran on Milken’s effects on his firm, SEC settlement and punishment.

Comments | More in | Topics: Startups

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