Quizlet has always been an unconventional company. I never intended for it to be a business; I started it because I needed a tool to study for a French class when I was 15 years old. I put it online because I thought a few friends of mine might benefit from it. Now, Quizlet is used by 25 percent of all U.S. high school students every month, and we’ve achieved that entirely through word of mouth.
Quantcast ranks us 50th in traffic among all U.S. websites. In the past few weeks, we’ve surpassed 100 million study sets created and one billion study sessions completed. We’re now used by 40 million people every month, and by learners in almost every country of the world every day. Roughly half of those learners use Quizlet on mobile devices. We’ve accomplished all of this with a team of only 32 people, half of whom we’ve hired since February.
We’re also unconventional in that we grew for ten years without raising venture capital money. Well, we’ve decided to change that!
I’m thrilled to announce that we’ve raised a $12 million Series A funding round, led by Fred Wilson at Union Square Ventures and Greg Sands at Costanoa Venture Capital. Fred and Greg have both joined our board. Also participating in the round are Owl Ventures, Altos Ventures, Geoff Ralston, Tim Brady, and Greg Brockman. We’re lucky to be working with investors who support us in building a mission-driven company.
Why did we finally decide to raise money? We’d already built a successful, self-sustaining business. We had millions of dollars in revenue that could fully support the team we’d built.
But it was time to be more ambitious, and that meant aggressively expanding our team and product.
Given the millions of people who already use and love Quizlet, we believe the Quizlet platform can reach all one billion students in the world. Because students and teachers contribute the materials they use for learning on Quizlet, we can provide a service that accommodates every curriculum in every educational setting. With the rise of inexpensive devices and broadly available Internet, it’s just now becoming possible to build an education platform that truly everyone can use.
As we expand, we also have a responsibility to think deeply about how learning on Quizlet works, and how we can make it better. We can help move education systems away from cramming for tests and forgetting everything a week later. We’re launching our first effort in this direction today, with Long-Term Learning, a set of tools and analytics for building cumulative knowledge over long periods of time. Over the next couple years, we will be building tools and activities that will help students achieve deep understanding and mastery of material, moving beyond our roots in memorization.
Our process for hearing feedback from our users will be critical to this expansion. At present, we individually respond to roughly 10,000 pieces of feedback per month. We visit classrooms several times a month, where we observe students and teachers using new features. Everyone on the team participates in these visits, and many of our best ideas come from classroom observations. We developed a new game called Gravity, also launching today, after students asked us to make our games more fun.
Over the years, the highlight of the experience for me has been meeting the people who use Quizlet. Our team owes all of our success to them. We’ve met Chinese grandmothers using Quizlet in community college to learn English. We’ve met waiters who used Quizlet to study for their ServSafe exams. We’ve met many students from underserved communities who have said that using Quizlet is one of their favorite parts of school, and who have built great study habits because of it. I feel strongly that Quizlet as a company should reflect the diversity of this learner community, and therefore we aspire to hire one of the most diverse teams in the business. Please take a moment to check out our job openings.
It’s fitting that we got our funding just as we turned ten. We’ve just completed a fantastic decade of hard work, but there’s a very palpable feeling at our office that the most exciting and impactful work is still ahead of us.
I've also posted this on Medium.