Skillshare Turns 5 and Raises $12M Series B
5 years ago, we launched our platform with the idea that everyone has something to teach. Since then, Skillshare has evolved into a global learning community reaching millions of students in almost every country. It’s been an amazing journey and here’s what we’ve been up to since you last heard from us.
We are pleased to announce that Skillshare has raised ~$12 million in new capital. The round was co-led by Amasia and Omidyar Network with existing investors Union Square Ventures and Spark Capital, which brings the total capital raised to $25M. This new investment round allows us to continue to build our platform, expand globally and further realize our mission of providing affordable access to learning.
Skillshare is a membership-based community. For only $10 / month, premium members have access to 5,000 classes w/ offline viewing available on iOS, Android and Apple TV. We also offer over 500 free classes along with scholarships. Classes are bite-sized (30-minutes or less), self paced, and project based, allowing students to learn by doing and on the go.
Skillshare is also an open platform where everyone can teach. We’re home to well-known thought-leaders such as Paula Scher, John Maeda, trashhand and leading brands such as MailChimp, Blue Bottle, Wattpad, and Kickstarter.
We’ve started to see our community members become stars on the platform, like Jake Bartlett , who teaches motion graphic classes to 20K students (the size of my college!) and Christine Fleming who has taught 11 design / art classes to nearly 12K students. On average, our teachers make $2,500 a year with our top teachers breaking $40K, nearly the average teacher salary in our country.
Our growth rate is accelerating. Last month, we added 650 classes to the platform, a 7x increase from 12 months before. And we recently surpassed 3M enrollments — up from 2M at the beginning of the year.
It’s also happening globally: 20% of our top teachers and 40% of our subscribers are from outside the U.S. We now have subscribers from 180+ countries. 85% of our growth has been organic and through word-of-mouth thanks to our engaged and curious community.
One of our top teachers, Teela Cunningham, recently quit her job and utilized the personal brand and income she built on Skillshare to focus full-time on her blogging career. While this was always her dream, before Skillshare she felt stuck: her full-time job didn’t allow enough time to dedicate to her blog, nor did quitting her job seem financially viable.
My favorite community stories are the ones from our students. Steve St. Pierre created a family crest in Aaron Draplin’s class that he was able to show to his 80-year old grandfather to help him understand his work and what it means to be a designer.
When Christine Fleming’s student Matan Berson won a portfolio review with her through a contest she hosted in her scientific illustration class, she gave him feedback and pointers on his portfolio, which he used in his application to get into the University of Toronto (shoutout to the 6).
We hear stories like this all the time from our community and it’s amazing to see a platform like Skillshare change the lives of so many people around the world.
We’re a mission-based company of 40 people based in New York City. Last Fall, we moved into the a new space in Soho, which came with an amazing rooftop. (We’re hiring)
We’ve designed our culture like we design our product. We take pride in the culture that we’ve built to date around our core values of HARP (Humility, Adaptability, Resourcefulness, and Passion for Excellence.) These core values are our guiding principles and are infused in everything from our interview process to our performance reviews. They allow us to move fast and decentralize decision making throughout the entire company.
As a result, we’ve built an extremely diverse team at Skillshare. The team includes people who have previously worked at Uber, Udacity, Teach for America, Birchbox, Droga5, and Artsy. Our gender balance company-wide is 50/50, and we’re proud to have built a diverse product team that includes 44% female software engineers.
We of course like to have fun too! From our annual retreats in the Hamptons to our League of Legends team, we find times to relax and we believe strongly in work-life balance.
We need a new education paradigm. With technological advances in the world moving at an accelerating rate, the volume of skills needed today can never be captured within a centralized education system. This skills gap will continue to increase throughout the world without innovative companies and platforms changing the status quo.
We’re building the world’s largest community for teachers and students while providing access to high-quality learning. Our open platform makes teaching on Skillshare a meritocracy, allowing everyone to teach and be successful doing so.
With this round, we aim to make Skillshare the leading global community to learn anything online from the world’s best teachers. As a teacher, you will be able to easily to connect with and build your following of students. And as a student, you will be able to learn anything, from anywhere, at an affordable price.
Join us on our mission to bringing Skillshare everywhere!