Brainly, the creator of Brainly.ph, a website designed to allow students to help each other with schoolwork, announced that it has raised $9 million in a funding round led by General Catalyst Partners. Previous and new investors, including Point Nine Capital, Learn Capital, and Runa Capital, also participated in the round. With the funding, Brainly will open an office in New York and further develop all the language versions of the Brainly Group.
General Catalyst usually invests in US start-ups – Snapchat, Airbnb and Kayak are just a few examples of the companies that they have supported financially in the past. Only in exceptional circumstances are they interested in companies outside North America – and Brainly is one of these exceptions.
Founded in 2009 and tremendously successful in its home country of Poland, it quickly expanded into 35 countries throughout South America, Europe, and Asia, including the Philippines. Brainly.ph was launched in February 2014, which makes it one of the youngest markets. It is also one of the most promising ones – it was already visited by over 2 300 000 unique users. The International Mathematics and Science Study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics of the U.S. Department of Education, shows that Math is one of the most problematic school subjects for young Filipinos and they’re getting worse results in tests than their peers from Malaysia or Singapore. Brainly can be an answer to this problem, as it unites both students who are great at Math and those for whom it is the main source of frustration. Moreover, moderators, who check the quality of content, are mainly recruited among the users who are the best at exact sciences, especially at Math.
The principal goal of the creators is to be the number one in the field of social learning. Opening the office in New York is one of the first steps to achieve that. “Every student in the world eventually becomes stuck on a homework problem, causing frustration and loss of confidence,” said Michal Borkowski, CEO of Brainly. “Our vision is to help students become unstuck by turning homework into an opportunity to inspire learning and collaboration. With this funding, we will be able to accelerate our vision by bringing new expertise to our team so that we can reinvent the next generation of our product. The money raised will let us develop very quickly in the countries where Brainly is already present and will also let us launch new language versions and expand to the rest of the world” – he says.
Each month, more than 30 million people around the globe visit Brainly websites to seek homework help, study for exams and share knowledge. The system is based on gamification elements, one of which is the points that serve as the website’s currency and create a natural cycle of help and engagement. The company has more than doubled its user base during the past year, and today more than 8,000 questions are asked on Brainly sites each hour while over 450 moderators assure the quality virtually 24/7.