Outschool is the community marketplace of live online classes for K-12, offered by independent teachers.
We’re delighted to announce our seed funding of $1.4M. This financing was led by Collab+Sesame, a fund backed by Collaborative Fund and Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street. Other investors include Y Combinator, SV Angel, Caterina Fake, FundersClub, Spectrum 28 and Learn Capital.
The funding closed in 2016 but we chose to keep a low profile while we tested and refined our product with the help of our community of parents and teachers. Outschool is now ready for scale and we have more than 1,000 classes from hundreds of teachers in time for the summer - see our summer classes. Classes cover all subject areas and ages K-12. They are attended by children in every state and 24 countries.
Our chosen format of classes has been made possible by the evolution of group video chat technology and the bandwidth to support it. Live online classes offer important benefits over other online and offline options:
Accessibility – Classes are accessible anywhere and the cost is split between parents.
Collaboration – Learners interact with a teacher and peers rather than studying on their own.
Choice – Learners and parents can choose from teachers across the world and from a huge range of topics, schedules and levels.
Online community marketplaces are one of the great innovations made possible by the Web and we’ve applied this model to live online learning. By letting learners choose their classes and teachers we deliver on the promise of personalized learning to adapt education to individual needs. Other models are inherently limited by a fixed curriculum and faculty.
The most inspiring moments for us come when we see learners join a class from diverse locations like California, Georgia, Utah, Ohio, Canada, Russia and Australia. They learn with each other and explore a shared interest led by a passionate teacher. In the current political environment, connecting learners from different backgrounds, cultures and views seems more important than ever. Luckily for us, we see this everyday.
“We see a future where in-person learning is enhanced by live online learning to offer parents a higher level of choice and variety in their kids’ education. We see kids who love to learn and who take responsibility for their own development, customizing their curriculum to follow their unique interests, strengths and challenges.” - Nick Grandy, co-founder.
Seed funding is a major milestone that enables us to improve our product and grow our community in service of our mission to inspire kids to love learning. But ultimately our success will be measured by the number of learners we reach, and the positive impact we have on their development. The former metric is easy to measure, the latter much harder, but we will remain focused on both.
Collab+Sesame is the ideal partner for our mission. Sesame Workshop has deep expertise with children and families, advanced research, a network of like-minded organizations, and a global reach. With Collaborative Fund we have financial backing from an experienced, supportive startup investor. They invest in companies that aim for social good as well as a financial return, so our values are well aligned.
Thanks to all of our investors for their belief in our mission and the community of parents and teachers we serve: