Drive Capital led the round with participation from previous backers from SoloLearn’s previous $1.2 million Series A round in 2016. They include Learn Capital and Prosus Ventures.
Of note, Drive Capital was co-founded by two alums from Sequoia, Columbus, Ohio, whose mission was to focus on founders outside of “normal” centers. That’s exactly what they did here: SoloLearn comes from Yerevan, Armenia, which has produced a lot of engineering talent, but interestingly not many startups. (PixArt, which is also actually headquartered in San Francisco, may be the biggest name to come out there.)
SoloLearn was founded and is currently led by Yeva Lyubyan, who tells me that the inspiration for the company came from a previous project working on a startup accelerator in the country while working for Microsoft.
A side effort of this was a coding bootcamp he put together to help upskill-B entrepreneurs. Bootcamp eventually approached Heussian to source interesting candidates for the job, with tech companies in the country, and the capital city in particular, and quickly sought and trained people in specific areas on behalf of tech companies. The latter, took over his life. Myself. In the process, the accelerator started making devices that could be used outside of orbit. Through all of that, Hussein said he felt it was an opportunity in itself to focus on it. And thus SoloLearn was born.
Now I know what you might be thinking at this point: Aren’t there dozens, maybe even hundreds, of good online coding courses and tools already available on the market? Why another fund?
The key to what SoloLearn is doing is that it has taken a realistic approach: People on mobile want short bursts of content, so coding education on that platform should follow. “Lessons” such as they come in bite-sized engagements that can be played in minutes when needed. Its target users are evenly distributed between people who are focused on in-depth learning about coding, and non-technical people who are trying to learn certain skills specific to their jobs, and She said that both have adopted the format.
“Everyone was critical of the idea of learning coding on a mobile screen, so we built a compiler a few years ago,” she said. “But trust me, the younger generation prefers to code on mobile. It’s as normal as the desktop. You will be amazed to see the thousands of lines of code they put together on one phone.”
The Duolingo-like approach to the curriculum came forward after the fact that there are no formal “teachers,” but people can turn to others in the SoloLearn community if they need help. Helpers are encouraged, Heussian said, “because they learn and they get recognition from the community.”
“The best support communities are influencers, experts who work with us for free and help basically everyone. They are our best and most influential members.”
Looks like the formula has worked. That said, SoloLearn is adding 200,000 to 300,000 new users every month, she said, with active users up 300% from last year. The 21 million people who are already using the platform were essentially verbally motivated. (That will certainly change now that SoloLearn has raised this big round…)
The potential audience is a huge one. “Billions will need re-skilling in the next 10 years,” Heussian said, with the implication that SoloLearn (and others like it) will play that re-skilling role. “We feel that the era of institutional education is over. No single institution, not even a union, could fulfill that demand.”
The company is seeing a lot of traction for learning in platform-specific languages, such as C# and Swift for Apple iOS, Kotlin for Android, and Go for Google cloud computing, with it continuing to expand into more languages. funding will be used. , but also more teaching tailored to specific job categories.
With Dulingo and other bite-sized content players seeing huge growth, that speaks to a lot of potential in the educational sector, and with SoloLearn in particular.
“SoloLearn offers massive habit-forming instruction, a warm and helpful community, and amazing user-generated content,” Masha Khusid, partner at Drive Capital, said in a statement. “And with SoloLearn bringing that same proven approach to a topic with such a deep impact on the financial futures of millions of people, it is especially exciting and rewarding to have their Series B lead.”