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Amanda DoAmaral, founder Milwaukee fiveable.me
April and May are busy months for Fiveable in an ordinary year.
2020, of course, has not been ordinary. And for the Milwaukee-based startup, which operates an online platform of educational resources for high school students, the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing school shutdown pushed founder Amanda DoAmaral’s team into overdrive this spring.
As students, learning virtually from home, scrambled to prepare for their end-of-the-year Advanced Placement exams, Fiveable quickly deployed resources to meet the spike in demand for its services, which include weekly livestreams with teachers, trivia battles, study guides and a community forum with live support.
“We knew we were going to ramp up in April and May,” DoAmaral said. “But (COVID-19) just jump-started everything earlier. Thousands of teachers signed up. … We kind of just dropped some of the other things we were working on and just started our AP season in early March.”
DoAmaral said the company saw a clear need to help some students who were falling between the cracks in the transition to virtual schooling.
“We knew we had to be there for them,” she said. “We started hiring more students to help with their peers, bringing in more teachers and more and more resources. We kind of bulked up our team through the school year.”
Fiveable has seen significant growth since launching in the winter of 2018. In spring 2019, the company was helping 2,500 students. By the following school year, that number grew to 200,000. Now, 1.4 million students have accessed Fiveable’s services.
“It’s just kind of a rocket ship,” DoAmaral said.