The coronavirus pandemic has sparked an increased focus on education technology across the country and Milwaukee-based Fiveable is right in the middle of the movement.
Fiveable founder Amanda DoAmaral took a chance earlier this year when she dropped the startup’s paywall, a decision she made before it became publicly known that COVID-19 was present in the United States and K-12 schools were closed because of the pandemic.
“We felt like it was best for the business and ultimately we were right,” DoAmaral said. “If we could get more students using Fiveable and connecting with us, then we were just going to continue our growth.”
The ed tech company, which offers livestreamed study sessions for high school students prepping for Advanced Placement exams, has raised $3.5 million in just two years.
Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former U.S. President Bill Clinton and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, was among the investors backing Fiveable in its latest funding round. The startup also attracted investments from GSV Ventures in San Francisco, Spero Ventures, Matchstick Ventures, Northwestern Mutual’s Cream City Venture Capital, Twenty Seven Ventures, Brookfield-based Golden Angel Investors and SoGal.
As February brought nation-wide school closures and a shift to online learning models, Fiveable was waiting in the wings with its platform, which includes educational tools and interactive programming for students and teachers.
The site attracted one million users during April and May combined. By summer, Fiveable gathered feedback from its students, which DoAmaral says led to strong support from investors.
“In partnership with students, we identified building communities as the most important thing to do to meet the moment,” DoAmaral said. “That’s why we decided to raise the round and why the investors came in.”
As the business grows, Fiveable is adding to its ranks, even paying for new hires to move to Milwaukee and covering their first year of rent, DoAmaral said.
“We decided as a team that we really love being in Milwaukee and we wanted to incentivize more teammates to move here,” she said.
Leadership: Amanda DoAmaral, founder
What it Does: Online platform for Advanced Placement exam prep
Next goal: Building student and teacher communities.
Funding: The company raised $2.3 million in October, and has raised $3.5 million total to date.