Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

CreativeLive Raises $21.5M for Live Online Classes

CreativeLive, a site that produces and airs live continuing-education classes, has received a hefty Series B round of $21.5 million led by the Social+Capital Partnership and including previous investor Greylock Partners.


Screenshot from a CreativeLive class on using photo-painting software

There’s no lack of money going into online education startups these days, but CreativeLive said it stands out from the pack.

“We’ve really taken our own path,” said CEO Mika Salmi in an interview on Wednesday. “Everything else is on-demand video, or in the MOOC (massive open online course) space.” Instead, CreativeLive tries to virtually recreate the notion of a long-form classroom session.

That long-form ratio is reflected in the company’s latest stats: Two million students have watched a billion minutes over the past three years.

Of course, CreativeLive doesn’t throw away the content after it airs; that’s actually where it makes its money. On-demand access to workshops can cost hundreds of dollars. Live videos and rebroadcasts are free.

Further justifying his pile of venture moolah, Salmi said, “The continuing education field is huge, and it’s as broken or more broken than traditional education, because it’s so fragmented.”

Salmi added that the appeal of the Social+Capital Partnership was in part the firm’s self-touted expertise in helping grow audiences for startups. “They are very hands-on,” he said, “and it could be really powerful.”

CreativeLive, which previously raised $8 million, reached profitability earlier this year, but now is spending more than it is making on revamping its platform and expanding the business, Salmi said.

This fall, the company added courses in music and audio, as well as crafting and making.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work