On the heels of a rumored-to-be-massive May round of financing, Teachers Pay Teachers, the online marketplace for teaching tools created by educators, has named former Etsy Chief Operating Officer and Googler Adam Freed as its new chief executive.
The New York-based company gives educators a platform to sell anything from lesson plans to classroom supplies to class projects, and has a growing following across the U.S. Much of the spending comes from teacher’s own pockets or discretionary funds that teachers have to buy supplies.
The market for these educational tools is massive and growing, according to Freed. The federal government alone spends over $663 billion on primary and secondary education in the U.S.
Capital for the round came from Vic Parker and Steve LeSieur from Spectrum Equity (investors in other educational companies such as Lynda.com, ExamSoft, and Finalsite); Lee Fixel from Tiger Global, whose firm has invested in Facebook, LinkedIn, and Warby Parker; and Jon Callaghan from True Ventures, who backed Socrative, Fitbit, and Always Prepped.
Freed, who had been serving as a director on the company’s board in the wake of its financing, says he was hooked on the Teachers Pay Teachers business after attending the company’s sellers conference in Las Vegas. “What really killed it for me… was going to the conference in Las Vegas, meeting 30 to 50 teachers and finding myself so moved by the work they were doing, inspired by the approach they were taking and inspired by the community they’ve created,” says Freed.
Bootstrapped since its launch in 2006, the site has seen 22 million pieces of educational material exchange virtual hands among its network of teachers. Those same teachers have received $86 million in payouts from the sales of their class materials. In 2013 alone, $45 million worth of original content was sold to teachers through the site.
Those are some big numbers for a home-grown, primarily bootstrapped, New York business.
With Freed taking on the chief executive role, former CEO John Yoo will take on a new role working on Teachers Pay Teachers new mobile and digital classroom initiatives. Freed will still maintain his position on the board of the San Francisco-based local food delivery startup Good Eggs and keep his position as a co-chair on the board of directors for the Brooklyn Children’s Museum.