San Francisco-based education startup StudySoup, which calls itself “a peer-to-peer learning marketplace,” announced it has raised $ 1.7 million in seed funding.
The firm works as an on-line study group exactly where students can sell or purchase class notes and study guides. “We realized that a lot of students come to college on very distinct levels,” Sieva Kozinsky, 26, co-founder and CEO, mentioned in a telephone interview with TechCrunch. “They’re all anticipated to hit the ground operating and to get on the same page, and sadly it leads to a lot of failures, simply because folks are entirely unprepared and there is not the correct assistance there.”
Kozinsky mentioned that the first spark for StudySoup was ignited when he was taking a Biology 1 class as a sophomore at UC Santa Barbara. According to him, there had been 500 students in that class and the teacher would speak actually rapidly. “Unfortunately, I was not capable to listen and take notes at the very same time,” Kozinsky recalled. “One day, I looked over to the young lady who was sitting to my side, and she had completely structured notes in distinct colors, extremely nicely organized.”
After that, Kozinsky and fellow UCSB undergrad Jeff Silverman, co-founder of StudySoup, discovered that a lot more than one in 3 students drop out college because of monetary motives or because they don’t get the help they need to have. This was the case for one of Kozinsky’s roommates, as effectively.
Even if numerous of the bigger universities offer you academic help to their students, these solutions are not obtainable everywhere. What can genuinely support students, according to Kozinsky, is understanding from their peers.
On 1 side of the marketplace — the provide — there are individuals who give the content material: exceptional note takers who want to make some extra cash by promoting their notes. StudySoup calls them “Elite Notetakers.” Students need to have to apply to grow to be Elite Notetakers, and complete a training about what kind of supplies they ought to post and how frequently.
According to Kozinsky, Elite Notetakers can earn from $ 400 to $ 500 per course by posting once a week, for a total of about 15 pieces of content material. The firm shares income with the Elite Notetakers. “We keep about 30 % of the income they make,” Kozinsky said. “But unlike Airbnb or Uber, we supply a assure for students. If you just sign up and you go by means of the education, you are guaranteed to earn income. And every time somebody uses your notes, you’re going to unlock new revenue.”
On the other side of the organization — the demand — there are students from a variety of backgrounds, from strugglers to leading performers. They can search notes by note taker, class or professor. Subscriptions expense from $ 11 to $ 30 a month.
StudySoup began on 3 campuses in 2014. One was the campus where the co-founders were studying, UC Santa Barbara. The other people were the University of Oregon and the University of Washington. “We picked schools that were comparable to UC Santa Barbara in size and demographics, but also that had been across different state lines,” Kozinsky explained. “We wanted to make positive that students require this support everywhere.”
According to the firm, two,000 Elite Notetakers, 150 schools and more than 500,000 students are part of the StudySoup network. StudySoup is primarily employed by undergrads, but 20 percent of users are graduate students pursuing healthcare or law school.
Participants in this round of funding have been 1776 DC, Canyon Creek Capital, 500 Startups and a couple of angels such as John Katzman, Jake Gibson and Leonard Lodish. “Our focus at StudySoup is developing an academic service division on the web,” said Kozinsky. “We wanted to make positive that our investors had been aligned with this type of long-term vision.”
Thanks to the $ 1.7 million, the organization is going to expand its item group by hiring a couple much more engineers and to invest in advertising and marketing and advertising to let students nationwide know about StudySoup.
“In the subsequent five years, we want to continue our expansion across diverse college campuses. Also, we want to give new goods to our existing students, so they can hold creating income on the platform,” Kozinsky mentioned. For example, a flash card study tool, which is presently in beta.
Featured Image: StudySoup