allclasses - The Powerful Search Engine for Developing Your Skills

Wednesday May 7, 2014 by Josh Boyle - Director of Community & Marketing, VentureFizz

Are you trying to expand your skillset?  Is there a technical element to your professional experience missing? Are you looking to refine a specific talent? Maybe you have even thought about an alternative for college… 

Well there’s millions, yes millions, of courses out there and they are offered by more than the typical institutions that you would expect.  For instance, organizations like Disney, Sotheby’s, Home Depot and even the FBI offer up courses for anyone looking to grow intellectually. 

So, how do you filter through all the noise and find the best option for your needs?  Stephen Marcus and Chad Lovell hope their newly launched startup, allclasses is the answer, as they are making access to these courses a lot easier for consumers. 

Currently, most people take to Google, or the like, to search for a class they might be interested in. The problem is that searching through Google is like “a surgical tool used to find a needle in a haystack” said Marcus.  Plus, search engines don’t allow you to compare and contrast specific elements of course. 

Allclasses, who is connecting people everywhere to millions of online and local offline classes and experiences, held a launch event on Tuesday at the Boston Public Library (see what they did there?).  Those in attendance were treated to a demo of the site, which was set to go live shortly after the event. The site is simple, clear and easy to navigate. Classes are searchable by instructors, schedule, location, distribution (online or off) and price.  The platform also provides related courses that may interest the user. Picture or Kayak for classes. 

The service is free to use and they’ll be releasing an iOS app in June to make things even more convenient.  The team is laser focused on growing their user base and monetization will follow. Likely a revenue share off of classes registered or premium tools for an enhanced buying experience. 

Marcus kicked off the event with an intro to the industry, the company and website. Lovell (left) was then joined by a panel consisting of (left to right after Lovell) Mike Baker (Co-founder, CEO & President, DataXu) Peter Hirst (Executive Director, MIT) and Nick Ducoff (VP Content & Operations, Boundless). 

They touched on the industry overall, the importance of these types of classes and the credibility or weight these courses carry when looking for a job. The latter sparked some questions and further discussion after the event. Several in attendance agree that there could be a shake up in education with the cost of college becoming overwhelming. The question becomes, could compiling a series of courses offered up by a variety of providers become a viable alternative to a college degree. All agreed that answer is unknown and ultimately on the onus of employers and hiring managers. 

When asked how he evaluates this type of learning Baker said his process includes testing the recruit specific to the coursework completed and skillset required. 

If there is a shakeup of this magnitude on the way allclasses certainly has a leg up. Their platform allows curious, driven, knowledge seeking consumers to find and compile a very targeted, self-created curriculum. 

Marcus and Lovell worked together at Matchbox, which was founded by Marcus and was acquired by TargetX.  Allclasses has raised $1.5M in seed funding from Floodgate, Atlas Venture, and local angels (including Mike Baker).

Josh Boyle is Director of Community & Marketing, VentureFizz.  You can follow him on Twitter: @jb_sid


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