Harnessing The Power Of The Crowd For A Social Online Learning Platform
A series B round of funding bets big on this rapidly growing edtech disruptor
‘No one knows everything, but everyone knows something’—that’s the premise behind Brainly, a peer-to-peer (P2P) social learning platform looking to connect likeminded students and teachers. Founded in 2009 out of Kraków, Poland, the young company’s mission to empower learners to ‘combine their strengths and tackle problems together’ has proven a fruitful endeavor, with the startup having recently closed a series B round to the tune of $29 million, bringing its total equity funding to just shy of $40 million.
The platform functions similar to popular question-and-answer site Quora, where users can publish inquiries to be answered by subject matter experts and the general public alike. Where Brainly differs however is in the topics themselves: while Quora is more open-ended, with questions ranging from bodybuilding to product design, Brainly exists strictly within the academic space—so you can expect to see questions relating to biology, physics, math, English and other such fields.
What started out as an idea of harnessing the power of the crowd to create a social layer around online learning has transformed into a global company, which according to recent figures has amassed over 100 million monthly active users across 35 countries. In total, that amounts to more than 100,000 questions being answered every day on the platform.
“Since our initial investment in 2016, we have been impressed with Brainly’s growth, particularly in the U.S,” one of the startup’s backers, Naspers Ventures CEO Larry Illg, said in a statement. “Even beyond the staggering size of the Brainly user base, we have been pleased with the depth of user engagement, and this is no doubt a result of the continued evolution of their platform to better serve students throughout the learning process.”
Using the newly raised funding, Brainly plans to grow aggressively both on the U.S. and global scale by expanding its product team to build out a newly articulated vision of collective learning on a personalized level. With the sheer scale and depth of engagement, things look promising for the e-learning platform.
Still, the company admits that its monetization strategy remains in its early phases, which means that the entirety of its lifespan thus far has been fueled by VC money. Though CEO and cofounder Michael Borkowski claims to be ‘very happy with the results,’ he goes on to say that ‘it’s too early in our testing to share specifics.’ Ultimately time will tell if Brainly will breathe new life into the edtech industry, or if physics students refusing to pay for Chegg will be forced to back to Yahoo Answers from 2008.
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