TeachStreet Raises First Round

TeachStreet, a Seattle-based online community for helping match students with local teachers, has raised $2.25 million in Series A funding. Madrona Venture Group led the round, and was joined by Bezos Expeditions and several local angels. 

PRESS RELEASE

TeachStreet, a new company dedicated to helping students find great local teachers, today announced that it has closed a $2.25 million Series A round of venture financing. The round was led by Madrona Venture Group, with participation by Bezos Expeditions and several strategic Seattle angel investors, including current and former Amazon.com executives Jeff Blackburn, Michael George, Jason Kilar (currently CEO at Hulu.com), Kim Rachmeler, and Joel Spiegel; former CEO of Expedia, Erik Blachford; founder of ProgrammableWeb, John Musser; and former RealNetworks' executive and current co-founder of Athena IQ, Dave Richards.

TeachStreet was founded by Dave Schappell, a former Director of Product Development at Amazon.com who most recently served as Vice President of Marketing at JibJab, the viral digital media studio. Proceeds from this first round of funding will be used to launch the company's service in new markets, enhance product development, support sales and marketing initiatives, and attract new talent. Unveiled today in the Seattle market, TeachStreet features a comprehensive guide to more than 25,000 Seattle-based teachers, classes, instructors, and schools to provide both teachers and students with a better way to find one another.

 We believe that having such a strong group of investors from the very start significantly improves our chances of realizing our goals.  

“TeachStreet has quickly evolved from an idea on a white board to a company and a product that delivers great value to teachers and students,” said Scott Jacobson, a Principal with Madrona Venture Group, a leading investor in early-stage technology companies in the Pacific Northwest. “This is a testament to Dave, his vision for the company, and the strength of the team he has assembled. While the demand for local learning is vast and growing rapidly, the marketplace is highly fragmented, and students often lack the information they need to find the teachers and courses that best meet their needs. TeachStreet solves this problem for students and teachers, and we look forward to helping the company continue to execute against its vision.”

In conjunction with closing its first round of funding, TeachStreet added two high technology business veterans to its Board of Directors, including Scott Jacobson and Dave McClure, a Silicon Valley investor and strategic advisor to numerous start-ups. To further assist the company's growth, TeachStreet has also formed a Board of Advisors, including Amazon.com executive Jeff Blackburn, and Gregg Spiridellis, co-founder and CEO-Guy of JibJab. The rest of the TeachStreet team includes product development veterans with deep experience in community development, Web 2.0 technologies, affiliate marketing, and search engine optimization from such companies as Amazon.com, Getty Images, JibJab, Jobster, and Zillow.

 

“Bezos Expeditions is particularly interested in investing in marketplace-oriented communities that bring together distinct audiences in a fun and engaging manner,” said Melinda Lewison, a Senior Investment Associate with Bezos Expeditions, a personal investment company of Jeff Bezos. “This is a hugely underserved market at present, and we think the application of Web 2.0 technologies to a hypertargeted audience of teachers and local experts, who have traditionally relied on coffeehouse posters and Craigslist postings, presents a significant opportunity to build a high-growth online-to-offline community-based business model.”

“TeachStreet was created to address the huge gap that currently exists in the market for students and teachers to not only find one another but also increase the likelihood that they're a perfect fit,” said Dave Schappell, founder and CEO of TeachStreet. “We believe that having such a strong group of investors from the very start significantly improves our chances of realizing our goals.”

About Madrona Venture Group

Madrona has been investing in early-stage technology companies in the Pacific Northwest since 1995 and has been privileged to play a role in some of the region's most successful technology ventures. The firm invests predominately in seed and Series A rounds across the information technology spectrum including consumer Internet, commercial software and services, digital media and advertising, networking and infrastructure, and wireless. Madrona currently manages over $425 million and was an early investor in companies such as AdReady, Classmates.com, Farecast, Redfin, and ShareBuilder. To learn more, visit www.madrona.com.

 

About TeachStreet

Founded in June 2007, TeachStreet is dedicated to helping students find great local teachers, and empowering teachers with robust online tools to manage their teaching business. The free site provides the information that students need to make a good decision about their learning experiences, including student reviews and teacher recommendations, pricing information, location, teacher background and training, and more. TeachStreet is headquartered in Seattle, WA and backed by Madrona Venture Group. For more information, visit www.TeachStreet.com.