GetSmarter was founded by Sam and Rob Paddock in 2008 to offer short academic courses to working professionals through collaborations with local and inter-national universities.
The business, which has posted phenomenal annual growth, is in line with 2U's offering of online degree programmes for univer-sities in the US.
The global higher education market is worth about $1.9-trillion (about R25.5-trillion) and is expected to grow 8% this year.
The deal is the first major acquisition for 2U, which is a publicly traded company.
GetSmarter CEO Sam Paddock said that the company was pleased to be joining forces with 2U.
"They bring experience and capital to our business at a time in our growth trajectory that helps us serve more students and achieve excellent outcomes. Our plans don't change; we simply continue, stronger than before," he said.
GetSmarter partners with higher education institutions such as the University of Cape Town , the University of Cambridge, Harvard University's strategic online learning initiative, HarvardX, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Locally, it has also partnered with the University of the Witwatersrand and Stellenbosch Business School.
GetSmarter said its course completion rates average 88%.
The education company said that at the conclusion of the acquisition it would become an independently operating, wholly owned subsidiary of 2U, but would main-tain its base in Cape Town.