The future of education is online, and more than a few startups have attempted to corner the market. There’s a lot of potential for overhauling the paid, classroom-setting education model we know today. Startups like Udemy, Khan Academy, YouTube, Knowmia, and others have proposed innovative new ways to take lessons out of the classroom and into the home, and make them free or low-cost.
One such startup, creativeLIVE, has arrived on the scene with a $7.5 million Series A round of funding from Greylock Partners. The company also announced Tuesday that former President of Viacom Digital, Mika Salmi, has been brought on as the new CEO.
Founded in 2010 by photographer/director Chase Jarvis and entrepreneur Craig Swanson, the platform takes a unique angle to the massively open online class concept. Like others, it offers free, multi-day live tutorials that are open to anyone with the desire to learn, but unlike other platforms, it focuses specifically on life skills rather than traditional academia.
Users can sign up to take free live courses in photography, business, software, design, or video and film. Those who can’t make the live tutorial can pay for full access to past courses.
“We’re not looking to provide classes for school credits; instead, we want to provide free education that helps people pursue their creative ambition, whether it improves their skills for a hobby, a budding business, or their career,” said co-founder Chase Jarvis.
Through creativeLIVE, users can connect with New York Times best selling authors, Pulitzer Prize winners, Emmy nominated directors, and other award-winning professionals.
On the appointment of Mika Salmi, Jarvis said: “He understands tech, he understands our vision of featuring courses taught by a curated list of world-class instructors, and he understands how to build a global, digital business. We have been profitable and disruptive from day one, so finding the right guy to drive our ship into the future was really, really important. And we nailed it.”
“For the past three years, I have been involved in over a dozen companies either as an investor, board member or founder, but I was looking for something that really inspired me. I looked at over 100 companies and CEO gigs, from billion dollar existing entertainment companies to 5 person start-ups to starting my own. CreativeLIVE hit all the right buttons for me,” said Salmi, who told me that he was drawn to creativeLIVE because it’s a transformative and disruptive business, a cross-section of tech and media, and it’s doing something positive for the world.
The site has already drawn more than one million users from over 200 countries. The average class size is 60,000, but some classes draw as many as 150,000 students.