piazza

Bessemer Leads $6M Round In Q&A Platform For Students And Teachers, Piazza

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Piazza, a Q&A platform for students and instructors, has raised $6 million in Series A funding from Bessemer Venture Partners with Kapor Capital and Felicis Ventures also participating in the round. The company is also backed by Sequoia Capital and SV Angel.

Piazza’s platform helps classmates share their questions and answers in a format that’s a mixture between a wiki and a forum. Each class gets its own hub for Q&A, and students can bookmark any questions if they’re also eager to find out the answer. Multiple students can contribute to each answer in a wiki style but there’s a version history that shows what each student wrote.

Both students and professors can create Piazza hubs for their classes. Instructor answers are separated from the students’ to make them easier to find. And professors can also look to see which questions have been bookmarked by the most students to gauge which topics they should explain better in class.

Piazza, which emerged from private beta in January, now enrolls more than 100,000 students hundreds of schools worldwide. This includes 109 of the top 250 colleges in the United States. Campuses where students are using Piazza include Stanford, Virginia Tech, Berkeley, MIT, Cornell, Harvard, Columbia, Princeton and the University of Michigan/

Piazza also shared usage data today from fall term courses, with 96% of all questions received an answer within a median response time of only 25 minutes. In terms of the breakdown, 45% of questions received an answer from a student and 67% of questions were addressed by instructors (some were answered by both).

The most active class on Piazza was a computer science class at Berkeley, where students recorded over 19,000 contributions during the course of the semester, or an average of one contribution every 22 minutes. One student in this class answered 463 of his peers’ questions. 74% of the students contributed some sort of feedback.

Students who sign on to Piazza stay logged in for an average of four hours a day, typically keeping the application open as a third tab in their browser. Piazza also recently introduced mobile clients for iOS and Android.

Piazza plans to use the new funding for research and development as well as towards expansion efforts in other schools and universities.