Tennis superstar Serena Williams invested in Milwaukee-based startup Fiveable through Serena Ventures, a venture fund that Williams founded in 2014.
Williams says she was initially drawn to Fiveable by the edtech startup’s ability to both understand and engage students, Williams said in a statement.
“The way they’ve brought students in to help guide their roadmap is unlike anything I’ve seen,” Williams said in a statement. “Based on their growth in users and engagement, it’s evident that their social learning community has cracked the code on peer-to-peer learning.”
Fiveable did not disclose how much Williams invested, but noted that New York-based venture capital firm Swell Partners also made an investment. The startup has raised approximately $4.2 million since 2019.
Fiveable’s online educational platform allows teachers and students to collaborate virtually for after-school help sessions via livestreams. The startup found increased demand for its services as students adopted virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic – Fiveable had 600,000 users over the last month, according to a recent blog post.
The startup began as a resource to help students prepare for Advanced Placement exams but has since grown into a community-based experience where student and teachers can connect on issues in and out of the classroom.
In fact, the pandemic prompted Fiveable to place a greater focus on building communities and connections across education, a measure that was especially important at a time when both students and teachers were feeling especially unmotivated, Fiveable founder and CEO Amanda DoAmaral previously told BizTimes.
This isn’t the first time that Fiveable has caught the eye of a high-profile investor. Last year, Fiveable drew an investment from Metrodora Ventures, a venture fund led by Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former U.S. President Bill Clinton and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
The approximately $2.3 million funding round led by Metrodora Ventures followed a strategic decision by Fiveable to lower its paywall, a decision made before it was publicly known that COVID-19 was in the United States or that K-12 schools would close across the country.
For its growth and timely services in the midst of the pandemic, Fiveable was named BizTimes Milwaukee’s Best in Business 2020 Small Business of the Year.