The Peergrade Story

Who we are and where we are going from a CEO’s point of view

At Peergrade we are passionate about education, teaching and improving the learning experience. During the month of August, we will be sharing a series of blog posts introducing the team and story behind Peergrade.

Peergrade’s origins are at The Technical University of Denmark (DTU), that’s where Malthe (CTO) and I (David, CEO) were simultaneously teaching and studying. We were teaching a course called Computational Tools for Big Data when the class suddenly grew from 20 to 130 students. With a class size that big it became clear that I would not be able to keep grading and giving feedback to all students in my usual way.

Course in ‘Computational Tools for Big Data’ at DTU (Fall 2015)

Peergrade was born out of this need to provide my students with much needed feedback. The idea of letting students partake in the evaluation process was a way to provide them with more feedback and potentially improved learning. I was partially inspired by my own experience with a course I had taken on Coursera where peer evaluations were used, and it worked extremely well. I decided to build a system for my own course and along the way my supervisor heard about it and wanted to be able to use it as well. After word spread, other teachers realised the potential and they asked to join in. So, in the fall of 2015 Peergrade was officially launched with 4 courses on the platform.

After a successful launch of those first 4 courses, and sensing potential of growth, Malthe and I were in the search for someone to help with the visual side. After a few meetings and only a few more beers, Simon joined the team as our third co-founder and CPO.

Malthe, David and Simon on workcation in Thailand (March 2016)

Since the launch teachers and students have been our biggest supporters offering continuous advice. DTU has been great at supporting us along the way, both as our first customer, with great references and with an immense amount of feedback. I have also seen a lot of support from Nest Copenhagen, a co-living space for entrepreneurs. Starting a business as a mathematician is not easy, and always being able to come home and ask all the stupid questions has been essential to getting this far. There is no doubt, that without Nest we would not be where we are today.

What challenges do we see ahead?

Our biggest challenge right now is that many people still consider peer grading too controversial. We are continuously pushing the boundary in classrooms by proving to more and more people that using peer evaluations and peer feedback both heightens the learning experience, while giving fair grades to students and saving time for teachers.

Peergrade’s growing team at Thinkubator Demo Day (June 2016)

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