A former Google executive’s quest to create better education options for his children now has some big investor backing.
AltSchool, a startup focusing on private “micro-schools” that offer personalized education options for elementary students, announced today that it has raised $33 million in a first round of funding led by Founders Fund and Andreessen Horowitz.
Launched by Max Ventilla, the former cofounder of Aardvark (which Google bought in 2010), the company was inspired by his frustrations around the state of public and charter schools. AltSchools are small and rely on custom technology to develop lessons that are specifically attuned to every student. There’s currently one AltSchool in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood, and the company plans to launch three more locations in the city this year.
“Creating the school experience that we want for our own children — and all children — requires the world-class, long-term, mission-driven investors that we have brought together,” Ventilla, said in a statement. “This investment allows us to advance our mission of giving every child an outstanding education that is custom made for them.”
AltSchool is just one of many attempts at alternative education, but Ventilla’s background and the company’s Silicon Valley roots could make for a completely different educational approach than we typically see in private schools. The company says it will use a combination of funding and donations to offer a need-blind admissions process. It’s also in the process of becoming a certified B corp non-profit.
The San Francisco-based company previously raised $4 million in seed funding. Other investors in this round include First Round Capital, Harrison Metal, John Doerr, Omidyar Network, and others.