HEDLINE: AltSchool raises $33 million Series A

AltSchool, a collaborative community of micro-schools that aims to transform K-8 education, raised a $33 million Series A led by by Founders Fund and Andreessen Horowitz, with follow-on investment from First Round Capital and Harrison Metal and participation from John Doerr, Jonathan Sackler, Learn Capital, and Omidyar Network. Founders Fund general partner Brian Singerman will be joining AltSchool’s board of directors.

AltSchool had previously raised a $3 million Seed Round from First Round Capital, Harrison Metal, Baseline and others.

Key Takeaway

AltSchool was founded by Max Ventilla, a long term Google executive and founder of social search engine Aadvark which was acquired by Google in 2010 for $50 million.

Though AltSchool offers a physical classroom experience, the startup sees itself as a technology startup at the core. Each student receives an iPad as center piece for homework and other assignments.

Teachers create weekly, personalized lesson plans for each individual student, focusing on their specific interests and skills. Those lesson plans called playlists are then saved for future teachers who may get a student with a similar set of skills and interests to use.

Students are divided into learning groups by age, currently 5-7 year-olds and the 8-10 year-olds. There are not more than eight students per teacher. The classrooms are equipped with cameras and microphones which can be used by the teachers to record and document learning progress of the students.

The aim of AltSchool is to create an infrastructure layer that any educational program can make use of and to strip out costs that don’t relate to a better classroom experience.

The tuition cost at AltSchool is currently $19.100 per year but Ventilla thinks that this price will go down eventually through more technology and there is generous financial assistance available for those families who cannot afford the price.

AltSchool currently runs its first school in San Francisco with currently around 20 students between the ages of five and ten. With the new funding AltSchool plans to open at least three additional micro-schools in the San Francisco Bay Area for the 2014-2015 and to develop and perfect tools within its platform, hire engineers and designers and run marketing and advertising campaigns.


Further Reading

  • Former Googler’s AltSchool Raises $33M From Founders Fund And A16Z To Reimagine Primary Education | TechCrunch
  • AltSchool Raises $33M to Give K-8 Education a Modern Tech Makeover | WSJ
  • AltSchool Raises $33M To Build The Classroom Of The Future | Forbes

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Kirsten Winkler is the founder and editor of EDUKWEST. She also writes about Social Media, Digital Society and Startups at