Need some lecture notes? How about an exam guide, or perhaps a video tutorial on Statistics 220 exam at the University of Toronto?
Let’s call it the Jerry Maguire strategy: Help me help you.
OneClass, a graduate of Montréal’s FounderFuel accelerator, enables students to teach students by providing a means for them to create learning tidbits on specific courses and components at 50 colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada. The company just raised $1.6 million from SAIF Partners, Real Ventures, and a few existing angel investors to multiply that 50 into 500.
And, presumably, to turn the 200,000 students currently using the service into two million — and then to expand to high school.
“We feel that students are highly underutilized as value creators. That is why we built OneClass with a gamification system designed to reward high-value contributors and users,” CEO Jack Tai told me via email. “The system is based on credits, which users accumulate through receiving downloads for their contributed documents or by referring friends/classmates to the site. With these credits, users can choose to download documents from the site without having to pay or they can also choose to redeem their credits for a variety of real gift card rewards at their favorite retail store.”
In other words, if you help other students with their homework, you could score gift cards for Abercrombie & Fitch.
Many educational startups see big dollars associated with complete school-wide deals on major campuses — the educational equivalent of an enterprise sales approach. OneClass, formerly NoteSolution, is taking the popular consumer-first approach to the education industry — selling directly to students.
Which is also why it’s not spending time or money on difficult integrations with school’s learning management systems.
“Rather than building for professors or institutions, all of our features are designed to make sharing content frictionless for the students,” Tai says. “By focusing on capturing the knowledge passed down from student to student, we’re able to accumulate content at scale that will benefit future generations of students.”
The $1.6 milllion will go towards rapid expansion of schools and content, Tai told me. Currently, the company has content for 10,000 courses.
“Making that transition from high school to university is difficult, especially from a 20 person classroom to a 500 person class. Students have limited and costly options to find extra help after a lecture ends – the choices are Google, YouTube, and private tutors charging $40-80/hr,” he added in a statement.
90 percent of students who use OneClass improve their grades, the company says.
Expansion to high school is on the company’s radar as well.