MasterClass raises $80m to bring more big celebs to their platform

MasterClass just raised an $80m Series D funding round to entice more celebs to get behind the desk and teach their expertise.

MasterClass, the celebrity-taught online learning program (like how to be funny with heart like Judd Apatow, or how to dribble a ball with Steph Curry) has raised $80m to expand the platform internationally.

According to VentureBeat, the Series-D round moves the SF-based startup past the $130m fundraising mark, and will also be used to bring more celebrities into the classroom. 

The company currently offers 39 celebrity-taught classes, with plans to exceed 50 by the end of 2018.

They must be backing up the money truck to these ‘experts’

In the last year, MasterClass has added an all-star cast of administration, including a writing class with Margaret Atwood, a directing class with David Lynch, and a tennis class with Professor Serena Williams.

Yesterday, CEO and co-founder David Rogier told TechCrunch he hopes to one day bring on Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman, and J.K. Rowling (who will teach you how to write a best selling book franchise about a boy-wizard via cocktail napkins?) to the platform.

When it was first released to the public in 2015, MasterClass seemed to promise an unlikely product (celebrities ain’t got time to make lesson plans). Yet sales have more than doubled from 2016 to 2017, and could do the same in 2018. 

A seat at the big boy edtech table

Without releasing hard financials, Rogier compared the company’s revenue to edtech heavyweights Udacity, who increased revenue by $41m from 2016 to 2017, and Coursera, who’s reportedly “within striking distance of $100m in annual revenue.”

In other words, if MasterClass is being compared to these guys, they’re doing pret-ty, pret-ty, pret-ty good (Larry David would be a terrible teacher).

Giving a ‘masterclass’ on corporate growth

The company, who raised $54m in VC funding last year, recently rolled out a highly successful new subscription model, allowing customers to pay a $180 annual fee to gain all-access MasterClass wisdom, that accounts for 80% of the company’s revenue (otherwise it’s $90 each).

On top of that, MasterClass released its first-ever mobile app this April and hopes to move beyond arts by soon adding a “business” category. 

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