Cracow, Poland-based social learning network Brainly, which operates a number of sites across Europe, has secured a $500k investment from VC firm Point Nine Capital and local angels, including Mariusz Gralewski, founder of the Polish professional network GoldenLine, and the founders of niania.pl, the largest “nannies platform” in Poland (sold to Edipresse).
The company says that the new funds will be used to further develop its social learning networks, and to expand into new markets — a move that should see the launch of an English language version and mobile products, putting Brainly in direct competition with the likes of Koofers and OpenStudy (see previous TechCrunch coverage).
Brainly provides a way for students to learn from each other, share knowledge, and network. At its core is a Quora-like Q&A feature designed to let users ask for help and support on homework tasks and other educational assignments. Those that contribute earn points and there are other gamification elements, including badges and subject rankings. Moderators are also employed to help maintain the quality of answers provided and to ensure fairness with regards to the scoring system.
Founded in 2009, Brainly currently targets 17 countries, mostly in Europe, with six discrete sites: zadane.pl (Poland), znanija.com (Russia and Ukraine), e-aufgabe.de (Germany and Austria), misdeberes.es (Spain and other Hispanic countries), nosdevoirs.fr (France), and eodev.com (Turkey). Overall, the company claims 7 million users per month who have “solved” more than 2 million tasks.
Point Nine Capital is a Berlin-based venture capital firm focused exclusively on early-stage Internet investments in areas like Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), eCommerce, marketplace and mobile. The fund and its managers, Pawel Chudzinski and Christoph Janz, have backed a number of highly successful Internet companies such as Delivery Hero, Clio, Shiftplanning, Vend, Westwing and Zendesk from their earliest stages. In early 2013, Point Nine announced the closing of a new €40 million fund, Point Nine Capital Fund II.
Koofers is a consumer internet platform that makes college easier for students by providing free access to testbanks, practice exams, professor ratings and grade distribution data, flashcards, and a class schedule maker. Koofers also has an enterprise Recruiter solution that allows employers and recruiting firms to easily find and quickly vet through our 1MM college students looking for internships and full job time opportunities.
OpenStudy is a social learning network where students ask questions, give help, and connect with other students studying the same things. Our mission is to make the world one large study group, regardless of school, location, or background. Like any successful startup, we work hard, have fun, and believe in what we do. We invite you to use us, join us, and spread the word. We want to change the way the world learns, and we’d love to have you...