The only segment of the market even close to working right now is education stocks. Look at the data. Rosetta Stone filing to go public in a shitty market . Grand Canyon Education (LOPE) broke the longest IPO drought in decades . When things go to hell in a handbasket people look at their lives and their ability to improve their chances. And that often starts with some good old fashioned learning. The rest watch CNBC :) .
One area that hasn’t been touched much by the explosion in online video is education. Sure there are lots of bite-sized “How to” sites like 5Min, Expert Village, Howcast, Video Jug, etc. But those sites are more instructional than video. Those sites aren’t gonna help the guy who just got laid off from his job.
Then there’s all the classroom stuff that’s being recorded and put online. Content from places like MIT and UC-Berkeley. This is a step in the right direction, but there’s no wrapper around this content. What makes it fun? What makes it social? Not much that I’ve seen so far.
Lately though, I’ve seen a few companies that have the possible to revolutionize how video works in education. One of my favorites is a company I’ve invested in called eduFire.com out of San Francisco . I was introduced to the company by my friend Mark Dowds and then Jon Bischke the founder came out to one of my San Francisco Henry Hunan dinners. Jon has some good VC backing in the business from Battery Ventures now as well. They’ve just launched a service called Classes that allows anyone to teach live video classes in computer training, languages, test prep, etc. These guys are embracing openness in the same way that the other big boys on the web do. It’s very untraditional learning. And that’s a good thing.
As an aside, I think stock traders and investors will as well and eduFire’s platform will work well with StockTwits community in the near future (hint).
eduFire isn’t the only one out there doing this. Others like WizIQ and Sclipo look interesting too. What I like about this space is that education is something that people have a demonstrated willingness to pay for. So while YouTube (let alone a million smaller video sites) struggle with questions like how to monetize these guys shouldn’t have the same problem. Just like Fred, I’m definitely bullish on the opportunity to hack education .