Piazza Reels in $1.5M

Piazza, the online Q&A platform shared by students and instructors, will take $1.5 million in seed funding from investors including Sequoia Capital, Felicis Ventures, Kapor Capital and SV Angel. Partners on the deal include, from Felicis, Aydin Senkut, and from Sequoia, Bryan Schreier.


Piazza, the online Q&A platform for students and instructors, today announced that it has received $1.5M in seed funding from Sequoia Capital, Felicis Ventures, Kapor Capital and SV Angel.
Piazza is a free online collaboration dashboard, without a download or install, that allows students and instructors to help each other quickly find high-quality answers to difficult questions. Its members spend two-to-four hours a night collaborating with classmates.
“As a shy student, I wished I had a way to tap into the collective knowledge of my classmates,” said Pooja Nath, Piazza’s Founder & CEO. “It was this desire that drove me to create the means for any student to learn from others in an open and non-threatening manner.”
Piazza was founded as a remedy for students who were not given the intellectual space, freedom or support to fulfill their educational potential or desire for learning. Ms. Nath was one of three female students in computer science classes at IIT, India’s top engineering school. She was also the first woman from her town to attend the prestigious institution. Much of her educational experience had been shaped by silence, as she was unable to find the same opportunities to engage in intellectual discussions as her male counterparts.
“As we have seen with many of today’s leading web-based services, students drive mass adoption, and this is the case with Piazza,” said Bryan Schreier, Partner at Sequoia Capital. “Its viral nature continues to lead students to Piazza.com where both professors and teaching assistants clearly see its value for increasing and enhancing communications with students and fill-in knowledge gaps. We see tremendous market potential for the company.”
Aydin Senkut of Felicis Ventures added, “This is one of the best designed products we’ve seen. It makes learning collaboration fun and efficient and could have a significant impact in streamlining traditional and online education.”
Anyone can create a class on Piazza, which has seen a remarkable spike in usage since its inception with more than 500% growth quarter-over-quarter.
“Using Piazza in past quarters, I have been delighted to see that my students typically get even their toughest questions answered within an hour of posting them – even if it’s after midnight – instead of having to wait for predetermined office hours or aimlessly searching Internet forums for non-specific answers,” said Paul Mitiguy of Stanford University. “Piazza has also saved me and my teaching assistants an average of 10-20 hours per week while creating a rich supplemental learning environment for my students.”
“I am thrilled that such a respected company builder like Sequoia Capital in conjunction with Ron Conway, Mitch Kapor and Aydin Senkut has chosen to help my dream of making sure that every student can have her questions answered in a timely manner,” said Nath.
About Piazza
Founded in 2009, Piazza is a free, online collaboration platform for students and teachers to communicate about complex problems in real time. Anyone can create a class at Piazza.com to initiate classmate discussion. Students spend on average two-to-four hours a night on Piazza working together with classmates and interacting with teachers’ assistants and professors to find the answers they need at the time they need them.
For more information, please go to www.Piazza.com.
About Sequoia Capital
Sequoia Capital provides venture capital funding to founders of startups who want to turn business ideas into enduring companies. As the “Entrepreneurs Behind the Entrepreneurs,” Sequoia Capital’s Partners have worked with innovators such as Steve Jobs of Apple Computer, Larry Ellison of Oracle, Bob Swanson of Linear Technology, Sandy Lerner and Len Bozack of Cisco Systems, Dan Warmenhoven of NetApp, Jerry Yang and David Filo of Yahoo!, Jen-Hsun Huang of NVIDIA, Michael Marks of Flextronics, Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen of YouTube, Dominic Orr and Keerti Melkote of Aruba Networks, Jonathan Kaplan of Pure Digital, Tony Hsieh of Zappos, Omar Hamoui of AdMob, and Steve Streit of Green Dot. To learn more about Sequoia Capital visit www.sequoiacap.com.