Teachable raises $2.5 million to help instructors teach outside the confines of course marketplace

New York-based Teachable has raised $2.5 million in a seed round of venture funding to help instructors of anything set up their own branded storefronts for selling courses and connecting with learners online.

The company’s technology lets instructors teach courses online in any subject without having to commit their proprietary materials and personal brands to a single platform.

While edtech investments earlier flowed to marketplaces like Lynda.com, Udemy, Skillshare or Masterclass, Teachable is taking another tack.

Formerly known as Fedora, Teachable compares itself to Shopify, and other course marketplaces to Etsy.

Founder and CEO Ankur Nagpal said “We think of ourselves almost as an anti-marketplace since teachers use us to build their own sites. They control pricing, payments and their entire customer list — there is no centralized repository of classes for students to browse.”

With 18 employees today, Teachable makes a majority of its revenue from instructors who opt to use its software on a subscription basis. Subscriptions cost from $39 to $299 a month.

A free version of Teachable is available to instructors. The startup takes a $1 fee and 10 percent of every sale for courses instructors share on the platform. If an instructor makes a course freely available to students online, Teachable doesn’t charge them at all.

The company has won over some famous customers, including Carrie-Anne Moss, known for her starring role in the Matrix and, more recently, her work on the Jessica Jones Marvel TV series.

To get paid by students who flock to their sites and courses online, teachers can connect their Teachable site to either their own bank account or a PayPal account.

New investors in Teachable include: Accomplice, AngelList founder Naval Ravikant and Learn Capital. Earlier investors included Sincerely founder Matt Brezina, Maiden Lane Ventures, Winklevoss Capital and others.

The company will use the funding for hiring, product development, sales and marketing.