an Francisco-based education startup StudySoup, which calls itself “a peer-to-peer learning marketplace,” announced it has raised $1.7 million in seed funding.
The company works as an online study group where students can sell or purchase class notes and study guides. “We realized that a lot of students come to college on very different levels,” Sieva Kozinsky, 26, co-founder and CEO, said in a phone interview with TechCrunch. “They’re all expected to hit the ground running and to get on the same page, and unfortunately it leads to a lot of failures, because people are totally unprepared and there isn’t the right support there.”
Kozinsky said that the first spark for StudySoup was ignited when he was taking a Biology 1 class as a sophomore at UC Santa Barbara. According to him, there were 500 students in that class and the teacher would speak really fast. “Unfortunately, I was not able to listen and take notes at the same time,” Kozinsky recalled. “One day, I looked over to the young lady who was sitting to my side, and she had perfectly structured notes in different colors, very nicely organized.”
After that, Kozinsky and fellow UCSB undergrad Jeff Silverman, co-founder of StudySoup, discovered that more than one in three students drop out college because of financial reasons or because they don’t get the support they need. This was the case for one of Kozinsky’s roommates, as well.