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Curious picks up $15M to teach you Excel, fine wine, or how to play the guitar

Curious
Image Credit: Curious

Curious can teach you anything from perfecting the perfect pesto to how to build a computer.

The online marketplace for lifelong learning announced today that it has raised $15 million in its second round of funding.

Curious connects students and teachers interested in continuing education. The marketplace contains over 5,000 lessons from 700 teachers on a far-reaching range of topics.

curious screenshot“Online education is a massive, noisy market,” founder Justin Kitch told VentureBeat. “We are not trying to take on higher education. This is for lifelong learners who want to learn skills or get better at something, and most of that type of education is happening on YouTube.”

Curious stands out from sites like Khan Academy, Coursera, Udacity, Udemy, and Lynda.com by focusing on learning “for learning’s sake.”

Kitch previously founded Homestead which was acquired by Intuit in 2008. He took time off after the acquisition and realized the weak state of online learning while searching for a guitar teacher. Despite the fact that there were great teachers out there, they didn’t necessarily have the resources or tech-savvy to market themselves online.

Kitch built Curious to provide these teachers with the tools to distribute, share, and monetize their lessons.

“We created this platform to help teachers become entrepreneurs,” he said. “Great teachers often have no clue how to sell their lessons online, and right now there is no place for them to do it. I want to lift up the state of the art of the industry and give teachers the scaffolding they need to focus on creating great lessons.”

Curious offers a Lesson Builder that helps teachers create compelling, “bite-size” video lessons, group them together into series, and add related materials. Teachers can use the platform to build their unique brand and gather a following.

Teachers use the platform free of charge, and Curious takes a 30 percent cut of what they make. Today Curious also announced that teachers can bundle lessons together into course packages — the first 50 courses are available as of today. The costs range from $9 to $49 per course.

These are topics that require multiple, sequential lessons, such as someone wanting to learn a foreign language, pick up a musical instrument, or try windsurfing.

Curious also launched a new feature giving students the option to tip their teachers.

GSV Capital led the funding, with participation from all previous investors, including Redpoint Ventures, Bill Campbell, and Jesse Rogers. Curious closed $7.5 million in May 2013 led by Redpoint Ventures.

The company is based in Menlo Park, Calif.

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