Peer-to-peer education startup Skillshare, which just launched in April, raised a $550,000 angel round, according to an SEC filing. Investors in the New York City startup include Founder Collective, SV Angel, Collaborative Fund, David Tisch, and Scott Heiferman.
Skillshare is a community where people can offer classes to other members. People sign up online, and meet in person for real classes for everything from how to bake cupcakes to how to get startup funding. People can charge for the classes. “Our business model is similar to Eventbrite,” says co-founder Michael Karnjanaprakorn. “We take 15% off each ticket purchase. We made revenue on the first day that we launched.” Karnjanaprakorn used to be head of product at Hot Potato (since acquired by Facebook), and co-founder Malcolm Ong was the product manager at OMGPOP.
The site is focussing on classes about tech startups, food and drink, and arts & crafts to start out. For instance, Chris Dixon of Founder Collective is going to teach a class on How To Raise Your First Round for $15 (with proceeds going to charity).
The founders are curating the classes to start out in order to attract the right kind of people and define the culture of the site. They are getting some advice from fellow New York startups. “The guys at Kickstarter have given a lot of advice on how to build our community, especially in the early days of the startup,” says Karnjanaprakorn. “Right now, we don’t allow private one-on-one classes, tutoring sessions, or test preparation services. While we think these classes are great, they don’t really fit into our community as we’re going after the ‘creative, unique, interesting and skill-based’ classes.”
The goal of Skillshare is to make education relevant and more current to what people need to learn. “While it’s great to learn multi-variable calculus or the economics of China during school,,” says Karnjanaprakorn. “What about the other 99% of skills that will never see the light of day? By the time a college starts teaching “Mastery in Online Community Management”, it will become so outdated and irrelevant. Traditional education will never catch up to the skills needed in the market today.”