×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

MasterClass, Purveyor of Celebrity Online Courses, Raises $35 Million Led by IVP

MasterClass, which sells internet-video courses led by celebs including Kevin Spacey, Christina Aguilera and Gordon Ramsay, has closed $35 million in financing led by IVP.

The Series C round brings the San Francisco-based startup’s total funding to $56.4 million. The latest funding included participation from new investors GSV Acceleration and Sam Lessin as well as existing investors New Enterprise Associates, Javelin Venture Partners, Michael Bloomberg’s Bloomberg Beta, Advancit Capital, Novel TMT, MX Investments, and Yan-David Erlich.

MasterClass plans to use the funding to increase hiring and add more courses from celebrities and other professionals, said CEO and co-founder David Rogier. Currently at about 50 employees, the company plans to more than double headcount by the end of 2017. MasterClass also is aiming to double the number of courses this year, from 16 today (12 launched so far and four more in the works).

The current MasterClass roster of courses — which cost $90 apiece — include those from Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman (acting), Werner Herzog (filmmaking), Aaron Sorkin (screenwriting), Hans Zimmer (film scoring), Gordon Ramsay (cooking), James Patterson (writing), Christina Aguilera (singing), Usher (performance), Reba McEntire (country music), Serena Williams (tennis) and deadmau5 (electronic-dance music).

In addition, the company has classes in development from Shonda Rhimes on writing for television, Steve Martin on comedy, Frank Gehry on design and architecture, and Annie Leibovitz on photography.

“It’s grown way beyond our expectations,” Rogier said. He declined to disclose how many students have taken MasterClass courses, nor would he provide details of the startup’s financials.

With the funding, IVP general partner Eric Liaw and VP Roseanne Wincek are joining MasterClass’s board, alongside existing board members Rick Yang of NEA and Alex Gurevich of Javelin Venture Partners. Past investments by IVP, which focuses on later-stage growth companies, have included Netflix, Twitter, Snap and Dropbox.

“We are honored to lead the Series C round at MasterClass,” IVP’s Liaw said in a statement. “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.”

Rogier worked for several venture-backed startups before founding MasterClass with CTO and creative director Aaron Rasmussen, who had co-founded a robotics company after graduating from Boston University and then worked on manufacturing and gaming projects. The duo formed the company in 2012 as Yanka Industries.

More Digital

  • Clevver-Logo

    Hearst Magazines Buys Clevver's Pop-Culture YouTube Channels After Defy's Demise

    Hearst Magazines has snapped up Clevver, a network of female-skewing lifestyle and pop-culture news YouTube channels that had been owned by now-defunct Defy Media. Clevver was left homeless after Defy’s sudden shutdown in November; its principals said at the time they were looking for a new home. Hearst Magazines sees a digital fit with Clevver’s [...]

  • "Brother" -- Episode 201-- Pictured (l-r):

    CBS Interactive's Marc DeBevoise on Streaming Boom, Content Strategy, and Apple

    Not everyone wants or needs to be Netflix to succeed in the streaming space. And not everyone sees Apple’s enigmatic new service as a threat. Even as rival streaming services offer gobs of content, CBS Interactive’s president and COO Marc DeBevoise sees the company’s targeted original programming strategy continuing to attract viewers to its All [...]

  • Rhett-Link-Good-Mythical-Morning

    Rhett & Link's Mythical Entertainment in Talks to Acquire Smosh (EXCLUSIVE)

    Smosh, the YouTube comedy brand left stranded after parent company Defy Media went belly-up, may be about to get a new business partner. Mythical Entertainment, the entertainment company founded by top YouTube comedy duo Rhett & Link, has been in talks about acquiring the Smosh brand, sources told Variety. Multiple potential buyers came forward to [...]

  • Pokemon Go

    Proposed 'Pokémon Go' Lawsuit Settlement May Remove Poké Stops, Gyms

    A proposed settlement in the class action lawsuit against “Pokémon Go” developer Niantic could remove or change a number of Poké Stops and Gyms in the popular augmented reality game. The proposed settlement was filed in a California court on Thursday and applies to anyone in the U.S. who owns or leases property within 100 meters [...]

  • Skyline of Doha at night with

    Qatar's beIN Rallies Support From U.S. Companies Against Pirate Broadcaster beoutQ

    Qatari powerhouse beIN Media Group has rallied support from American sports and entertainment entities, including Discovery and Fox, behind its request that the U.S. government place Saudi Arabia on its watch list of top intellectual property offenders. The Doha-based broadcaster, a state-owned spinoff of Al Jazeera news network, accuses the Saudi government of harboring pirate broadcaster [...]

  • Carlos SlimMexican tycoon Carlos Slim participates

    Carlos Slim’s America Movil Looks to Invest $8.5 Billion in Latin America This Year

    América Móvil general director Daniel Hajj has announced that Carlos Slim’s Mexican conglomerate plans to invest $8.5 billion in Latin American in 2019, focusing primarily on fiber-optic infrastructure and updated mobile technologies such as 4.5G and 5gG. In a conference call with analysts, following the company’s recap of fourth quarter results, Hajj laid out the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content