Fiveable acquires virtual studying platform founded by 16-year-old

Amanda DoAmaral
Amanda DoAmaral Credit: Jake Hill

Last updated on May 10th, 2021 at 01:46 pm

Milwaukee-based edtech startup Fiveable acquired virtual studying platform Hours, a San Francisco-based startup founded by 16-year-old Calix Huang.

In a matter of six months, Huang scaled the platform to more than 18,000 users before selling Hours to Fiveable in a “six figure” deal, according to Huang’s website.

Fiveable did not disclose the terms of the deal, which is its first acquisition since founder and CEO Amanda DoAmaral launched the company in 2018.

Hours enables students to engage one another through virtual study sessions that include text and live video sessions. The platform has several features like editable task lists with visualized progress, customizable timers, a built-in music feature and a focus mode to minimize distractions.

DoAmaral says virtual group study is one of many trends in edtech that were accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Edtech tools of the last two decades have focused heavily on one-on-one tutoring and single-player content, but students are finding one another and organically building community spaces outside of these traditional environments,” DoAmaral said in a statement. “Having Calix and his team lead product strategy for Hours allows us to continue creating decentralized spaces where students can work directly with one another -one small step towards educational equity.”

Huang, a junior in high school, developed Hours six months ago as a way for students to connect virtually during the coronavirus pandemic. The online study tool has users in 120 countries and is used by students at colleges and universities like Stanford University, MIT, NYU, Dartmouth, and Berkeley University of California, according to a press release.

Calix is also the founder of Launch Tech LLC, which incubates student-focused ventures like Ortexo, NPO Core and w3Hacks, all of which were acquired by NovaCrypt.

Calix will join Fiveable’s team as a lead product manager to accelerate the growth of Hours as part of the acquisition.

“Aside from the clear alignment with our company’s growth goals, the acquisition of a company founded by a 16-year-old coder and edtech innovator couldn’t be more fitting for us,” Fiveable co-founder and chief experience officer Tán Ho said in a statement. “We trust and respect young people and actively seek out ways to include their voices in what we do, so we’re grateful for Calix coming on board and believing in our team.”

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Brandon covers startups, technology, manufacturing. He previously worked as a general assignment and court reporter for The Freeman in Waukesha. Brandon graduated from UW-Milwaukee’s journalism, advertising and media studies program with an emphasis in journalism. He enjoys live music, playing guitar and loves to hacky sack.

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