Investors are buying into a maker-led future, and NAS Academy wants to turn that maker effect into a broad network of “virtual universities.”
The Singapore startup is building a platform for creators to monetize their knowledge, giving them the tools to create their own classes and academies that fans can participate in online. The platform is founded and led by Nusir Yasin, a video blogger and influencer whose Nas Daily social media accounts have millions of followers across the platforms.
Nass Academy has closed a Series A Series A of $11 million led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, with additional support from Balaji Srinivasan, Emily Choi, TakeAvive Founder Partners, Visioneer Holdings, 500 Startups and Metaparse.
The platform can help creators build on-demand class portfolios or live courses, while the marketplace allows users to navigate and shop for courses they love. Yasin hopes the platform can bring some predictability to consumers who are interested in signing up for online courses but are wary of scams and half-baked offerings. “This market needs some trusted brands and quality assurance,” He says.
At the moment, with classes on video editing, content marketing and entrepreneurship, a good portion of the courses lean towards the business of online influence. It’s also a wide range of price points, with the cost of live courses on the platform now ranging from $29 to $499. Users can also pay for a bundle of courses, and Yasin says the platform has plans to offer subscriptions down the road.
NAS Academy will monetize these revenues by cutting back, which may vary slightly, especially right now because the platform is invite-only for creators. As the platform further opens up, Yasin wants it to be a way for creators to find new audiences as well. Course operators will have access to their audience’s email and will be able to reach them directly outside the platform if they wish.
Investors have been signing up back to back startups to build products across the creator economy vertical, especially in the past year. Creator platform Patreon recently reported a valuation of $4 billion. Yasin sees a huge opportunity not only in facilitating closer relationships between creators and fans, but in serving as an on-ramp for creators looking to learn on their platform.
“We think there are another 100,000 creators who will never be asked to create a masterclass,” Yasin tells ClearTips. “Internet skills are low in supply and high in demand.”