April 29, 2021
Disco, a Toronto-based virtual learning start-up, recently closed an oversubscribed seed financing round which raised $6M. The company’s business focuses on providing a platform that content creators can use to host live and asynchronous learning opportunities for attendees. Disco describes itself as a “platform for creators to build and scale their learning empire easily in one place”. The value proposition clearly struck a chord with investors in this financing round, which included Quiet Capital, Golden Ventures, Inovia, and GSV, and angel investors with roots in other tech companies like Wattpad, Shopify, and Clearbanc.
Founded in 2020, Disco’s only prior offering was a small friends and family round which raised an undisclosed amount. The company’s platform is currently still in closed beta testing, but has already formed a waitlist of hundreds of content creators, which includes prominent tech industry names such as Graham Hill, Dan Martell, Sarah Lacy, and Heather Payne. Disco plans to use the proceeds of the seed round to onboard the creators already signed on to the early-access waitlist, and to bring its cohort-based live learning platform to market.
Disco’s co-founder, Candice Faktor, said in a statement that the company will focus on servicing their creators in the same manner that Shopify found success in servicing their merchants. Bob Chu, Shopify’s vice president of product and general manager of platform, said that Disco reminded him of Shopify, in that “[Shopify] empowered entrepreneurs to go direct to customers and disrupt traditional retail, just like Disco is enabling creators to disrupt traditional education”.
The demand for online learning software has surged in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced content creators to re-evaluate how they deliver information to consumers. While schooling and educational technologies have been important in supplementing in-person learning, other programs such as Skillshare and Masterclass have been able to capitalize on demand from those outside of the formal school system. The Great Courses, a supplier of audio and visual online learning courses, claims that their subscriptions are 3x greater than pre-pandemic levels. Disco will hope to reap the benefits of this soaring market as they develop and roll-out their own learning platform.
Author: Sasha Seeber