MasterClass Raises $35 Million to Boost Celebrity-Taught Online Courses

The company offers online classes from Serena Williams, Gordon Ramsay and Aaron Sorkin.

MasterClass, the startup that offers online courses taught by experts including Kevin Spacey and Aaron Sorkin, has raised $35 million in funding to help it add new classes and expand its roster of instructors. 

The round was led by IVP with participation from GSV Acceleration and Sam Lessin, a former Facebook executive. Existing investors including Shari Redstone's Advancit Capital, New Enterprise Associates and Javelin Venture Partners also participated in the round, which brings the 2-year-old company's total funding to more than $56 million. 

"We launched MasterClass with the belief that everyone should be able to learn from the best and a hope that if we could do that, we had a chance to make the world just a little more equal," said co-founder and CEO David Rogier. "We're thrilled to be working with the IVP team."

Since launching in 2015, San Francisco-based MasterClass has offered about a dozen classes on a range of subjects from screenwriting to tennis techniques — all for $90 each. Upcoming courses include a comedy lesson from Steve Martin, a design class from Frank Gehry, a TV writing course from Shonda Rhimes and a photography lesson from Annie Leibovitz.

As part of its investment, IVP's Eric Liaw and Roseanne Wincek will be joining the MasterClass board. "From Serena Williams teaching tennis to Gordon Ramsay teaching cooking to Kevin Spacey teaching acting and soon Shonda Rhimes teaching television writing, they are delivering on their mission to make the knowledge of the world's great masters available to everyone, and it's exciting to partner with them," said Liaw. 

 

 

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