The backdrop of our days has never felt more stagnant as the pandemic continues to play out unevenly. High kids are looking for casual venues online to riff and study with pals, while tech workers may flock to virtual HQs or Twitter Spaces for spontaneous talks. Fiveable, a Milwaukee-based business, is a good match for the rising need. Fiveable began as a free online learning community for high school students with the goal of assisting them in passing Advanced Placement (AP) exams several years ago. It gained traction by live streaming five-hour “cram shops” focusing on a certain subject, creating study aids, and managing a Discord with thousands of students.
It’s now growing into a social learning platform that can assist any student in navigating high school. Fiveable co-founder and CEO Amanda DoAmaral described the company as “the corridors of the educational internet.” “What do high school students do in the hallways? They meet up with pals, get books, figure out where they need to go next, and catch up — and that’s a lot of what goes on in Fiveable.”
Fiveable’s current funding round was powered by DoAmaral’s vision, which he co-created with co-founder Tán Ho. The startup announced today that it has raised $10 million in a Series A round led by Union Square Ventures, with Owl Ventures and Progression Fund joining in.
BBG Ventures, Chelsea Clinton’s Metrodora Ventures, Emerson Collective, Beta Boom, gener8tor, Matchstick Ventures, Darrell Silver, and Serena Williams had previously invested more than $4.2 million in Fiveable. The funds will be utilized to expand Fiveable’s crew in order to create more student-led online venues.
“Where do you reside, what teacher do you have, and what resources do you have?” “All of those things add up to whether or not you’ll be successful,” DoAmaral explained. “And so, what we really want to be able to do is reclaim that power for students, so that their capacity to navigate who they want to be is a lot more evident for them.”
Just months after acquiring Hours, a virtual study platform created by 16-year-old Calix Huang, Fiveable is tightening its focus to be more student-directed. Hours allows students to organize study sessions in which each participant has their own task list, timer, and playlist, a multiplayer experience that Fiveable students were naturally drawn to even before the company united. The acquisition, according to the co-founders, helped them comprehend the magic of study groups and will inform the product roadmap for future developments.