I am excited to be an angel investor in Grockit, an online learning start-up based in San Francisco. Earlier today, Michael Arrington at TechCrunch wrote about the fundraising. I have been looking at the online learning space over the past year, initially inspired by the success of MegaStudy in South Korea. Besides building a very valuable business in its home market through a combination of online and in-person teaching methods, MegaStudy fueled an interesting cultural phenomenon - they turned teachers into rock stars! Top teachers at MegaStudy do the equivalent of stadium tours and, as they walk on stage, the student-fans go wild. Business Week wrote a great piece on MegaStudy last year.
When speaking to Farbood Nivi, the founder and CEO of Grockit, a few months ago, I was similarly inspired. His vision is to "abolish Education and replace it with Learning." He plans to do this, in part, through a novel concept called MMOL - Massively Multiplayer Online Learning. Essentially, Farb believes that students learn best from each other, and he has some great ideas on how to build a business around this concept. He's also got the street cred to build a leading company in this sector, having been a top ranked teacher with Princeton Review for years. It's very different from MegaStudy, but I like it even more.
Good luck to Farb, his partner Michael, and the rest of the Grockit team!