Since I started at Beanbag I’ve been taking more of an interest in the other start-ups in the whole ‘learn 2.0’ space (yea I know – another effing 2.0 but I can’t think of another way to describe it – sorry!). Anyway I thought I would just do a quick post about the sites I find most interesting.
[I guess a case could be made that these companies could be competitors to Beanbag but I just don’t see it that way really but maybe thats my lack of a business killer instinct shining though!]
School of Everything – are a UK start-up based in London and have received funding from Channel 4. They have a great team and a far reaching mission based around the idea that everybody could teach something. Thus they have a whole host of categories for ‘teachers’ and are building building an audience pretty rapidly. The site is built on the open source CMS Drupal and they wear their open web credentials on their sleeves. They have won a couple of well deserved awards recently and all in all its an interesting, worthy and has a talented team so I think they’ll do well.
Teachstreet – is based in Seattle and currently also covers the Portland area as they go for a staged launch city by city in the US. They have a very similar mission to School of Everything though the Teachstreet site has more in common with Beanbag as far as IA and technology go. They have had some decent publicity in the tech blogs, secured some funding and look to have built an experienced and skilled team thanks to the presence of internet giants like Amazon being in the area. I think the staged roll out is a good plan and their focus on SEO is clever and they have a wonderful homepage.
Grockit – is still in a private invite beta so I haven’t had a chance to check it out but the idea is very clever. Creating an online game based on the MMORG that encourages peer to peer learning in a safe environment is a great concept and they have secured a first round of funding so they can obviously back up the big ideas and I’m really look forward to seeing how this works out (plus as someone who has read the entire Heinlein back catalogue I love the name of the company as well!)
Supercool School – is essentially a Facebook application that looks to pull together users with similar learning aims and then match them with a suitable teacher and then serve the class in an online environment. I like lots about this idea – especially using Facebook as a platform and the idea that you get the students together first and they drive the direction of the study rather than the teacher. Doesn’t seem to have been much take-up or coverage of this one but its still a cool idea I think.
There are a couple of other interesting companies I am watching: Babbel from Berlin and EduFire from the US but they are both focusing on languages at the moment so for now they are a little bit under my radar.
I’m sure there are loads of companies I am missing but I’m sure I’ll come across them in the coming months..