Koofers raises $5M for social-study network

Faith Merino · September 29, 2010 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/122b

But does the site deliver what it advertises?


Correction: Grockit was founded in 2007, not 2006, as previously stated.

Social learning company Koofers announced Wednesday morning that it has raised $5 million in series A equity funding, led by Revolution (created by AOL co-founder Steve Case) and Nigel Norris’ QED Investors, along with previous investors New Atlantic Ventures and Altos Ventures.  The round brings the company’s total funding to $7 million, including a previous grant from the fbFund.

Launched in 2008, Koofers is a social-studying community that provides a platform where students can share notes, class tips, study guides, professor ratings, grade distribution, and old exams.  

Most college students know the little underground channels for finding out critical information on a professor.  You go to a site like ratemyprofessors.com or rateaprof.com, you go on Facebook, email friends of friends, and you find out whether a professor is nice, clear, understanding, snappish, no-nonsense, chronically late, or an all-around nightmare to deal with.  More importantly, you find out how the professor grades.

While it would be nice to say that simply working hard and going to class regularly will guarantee an A, the reality is that if you need an A, you need to figure out who will give you an A.  When I was in grad school, one crazy professor in my first semester made me realize the importance of checking out all potential professors before enrolling in classes.

Unlike a site like ratemyprofessors.com, Koofers.com works with universities on a more transparent level (and there’s no hotness rating).  The site aggregates information from over 400 universities and uses social networks like Facebook to draw in users, of which it now has 310,000.  It also encourages faculty participation and contacts the honor councils at universities to be clear on policies.

“Koofers is driving the reinvention of our university system,” said John Backus, founder and managing partner at New Atlantic Ventures in the company’s press release. “Traditionally, academic education has been top-down, with the wise teacher imparting knowledge, one way, to the blank-slate mind of the student. Social media on the web destroys this hierarchy and creates a level playing field for knowledge around the world, where students and professors learn from and teach each other.”

The company is a member of the Center for Academic Integrity and does not condone cheating; nor does it allow the site to be used to distribute prohibited items, such as stolen exams or term papers. 

That being said, the site still appears to be in development and has very few actual ratings so far.  I looked up New York University, which is a huge school with hundreds of professors and thousands of students, and only found one rating.  And it didn’t mention anything about grading style, so I can’t say that I would’ve found this rating section all that helpful.

Other features on the site could prove more helpful, such as textbook price comparisons, shared notes, and group Q&A sections.  But I find the site just a tad misleading.  It advertises itself as a place where students can browse “professor ratings and grading histories,” “see past exams and quizzes,” and “see study guides and notes.”  The “past exams” are not necessarily for the class you’re looking to take or even from the same professor or school, but may come from other universities that have held similar classes. 

Furthermore, I didn’t see any actual classes being offered specifically by NYU, but rather a list of general subjects.  For example, in the English section, there is a list of English classes typically offered by most universities, but not any being specifically offered by NYU.  And even when I did click on one of the general courses, it brought up notes and study guides for totally different topics.  I entered “southern literature” and got notes for Shakespeare and the Bible.

Grockit.com, created in 2007 by Farb Nivi, is another online social studying community that also offers study aids and learning games, and has more comprehensive offerings, such as an online diagnostic to pinpoint a student’s strengths and weaknesses, specific test prep services, and live chat rooms where users can study and compete.

Update: I just checked my Facebook page to find that Koofers used my Facebook handle to post as me on all of my NYU friends' pages to make it look like I was inviting them to join. Lame, Koofers.

Image source: navfund.com

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Grockit is a web-based social network for studying that uses collaborative learning to improve academic achievement and extend learning outside of the classroom.



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Koofers.com provides an interactive community that serves the academic needs of college students through information sharing. Students benefit from collaboration with their peers and the experiences of former students. Many helpful services span the entire academic calendar from course selection through final exams, and include collaborative note taking, course & instructor ratings/grade distributions, and an online library for sharing past exams & study materials.


Koofers - where were you when I was in school? Koofers started at Virginia Tech, with a campus rollout in 2007. In that one year, it became the third-most visited site by students, behind Facebook and MySpace. The reason? It allows students to make the relatively opaque process of class and teacher selection fully transparent, by providing grade distributions and teacher feedback to allow a student to shape their individual class schedule, based on their own needs and style (e.g., “I am fine with exams, but I hate teachers who give tons of quizzes”).


Once a student has started the semester, Koofers provides help by offering access to a collective repository of study guides, past exams, etc. This is something schools have had for over a century, but these vaults were only available to small groups of students (e.g., a fraternity). Now, those tools are available to all students. Koofers also supports ongoing communication between students and teachers through its community tools.


The reaction at its alpha deployment at Virginia Tech, coupled with positive feedback this Spring from a quick pilot during the last week of the term at the University of Maryland (where 1000+ users signed up), gives the Koofers team confidence that they have a winner here.


Koofers will deploy to 30+ schools this Fall 2008, to provide themselves a bigger test bed, and then look to launch more broadly in the Spring.