Let’s Start a Learning Revolution
A couple of years ago, I became obsessed with the “education” season of The Wire, which was an HBO show about the complexities of Baltimore. It opened my eyes. If we can solve the education problem, we can solve a lot of other problems in our society - poverty, crime, etc since everything is so interconnected. The seed was planted.
Around the same time, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. I packed my bags and moved there to help rebuild the city. My roommate, Mark Martin, was the Principal of Langston Hughes Academy. We talked a lot about their mission of turning a 80% HS dropout rate into a 90% college graduation rate. I saw the power of education reform first-hand within the current system. And the seed started to grow as I thought about how we could transform education outside of traditional schools.
Last year, I sent Malcolm Ong (Skillshare Co-Founder) the link to the Sir Ken Robinson “Bring on the Learning Revolution!” TEDTalk with the following quote in the email from the talk:
Now, in this room, there are people who represent extraordinary resources in business, in multimedia, in the internet. These technologies, combined with the extraordinary talents of teachers, provide an opportunity to revolutionize education.
We challenged ourselves to create something that used the power of the Internet to revolutionize education and democratize learning. The seed started to sprout.
Skillshare was born in the Fall of 2010 as a community marketplace for offline classes. We created Skillshare to turn every community into a huge campus, every address into a classroom, and every neighbor into a teacher and student.
Today, we’re excited to announce that we raised $3.1M in another round of funding that was co-led from Spark Capital and Union Square Ventures. This will allow us to expand our product and community team (we’re hiring & we have sweet benefits!), expand to more cities across the country, and create formal scholarships for our students. We launched in SF & Philly yesterday and plan to expand to Boston and LA soon w/ DC and New Orleans not too far behind. We also released some new product features like reviews and recommendations with a lot more on the roadmap (like our version of “degrees” and accreditations - exciting, eh?).
If this journey is a baseball game then we’re still at the top of the first inning. Like the late great B.I.G. says, “the sky is the limit” and we “can’t stop, won’t stop” until we turn every single city into a campus and revolutionize education.
Thank you to everyone on our team for joining us in this noble pursuit. Thank you to our new and old investors for believing in us. And thank you to all of our students, teachers, and supporters along this journey. We could not do this without you. Together, we can create a new future of education.
- Michael Karnjanaprakorn & Malcolm Ong, Skillshare Co-FoundersTweet
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