Learning site Curious lands $15M, starts monetizing

GSV Asset Management leads round; Teachers can now charge and get tips from student

Financial trends and news by Bambi Francisco Roizen
February 13, 2014
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Curious, an online marketplace for life-long learning, just raised $15 million in its second round of financing, led by GSV Asset Management, and existing investors, including Redpoint, and founder and CEO Justin Kitch

Curious, which is focused on creating a platform where teachers can offer a variety of video-based as well as interactive lessons, from how to have loose curls in 10 minutes, to learning romantic French phrases, to learning Basic Excel, now has reached 700 teachers, up from 100 since launching in May 2013. It now also has 5,000 lessons, up from 500. The company doesn't disclose the number of students, but video views have crossed one million, according to Kitch.

The new financing comes on top of a pretty recent one, $7.5 million last May. 

Curious is also, for the first time, allowing its teachers to charge for courses.

“We are at the first phase of our monetization efforts,” said Kitch, who knows a thing or two about monetization as he founded Homestead and sold it to Intuit for $170 million in 2008. When users sign up, they'll receive three coins for free. They can use them to buy lessons, which cost about one to three coins, or are sometimes free. For additional lessons, users can buy oins for 80 cents to $1. They can also purchase courses, which coast about $9 to $49, for a series of 10 lessons or more. Curious works with the teacher to work out the pricing. Teachers get 70% of the revenue.

Teachers can now also make money through tips.


As readers who've followed Curious here know, the marketplace has become an alternative way for teachers to make money. A lot of these same teachers may be on YouTube, but the only way they make their money there is if they get views. That may work for a teacher who knows how to get their video viral, but for other subjects that require more interaction, there are few if any tools.

Hence why Curious is not advertising based. "We believe charging directly for the lessons because it gives dollars directly to the teachers... There's a problem right now when there's no economic incentive because you can't get enough view volume. We need a model where a teacher and the platform are simpatico." 

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