[credit provider=”Business Insider”]
There aren’t many legal ways to make $1,000 in one night.But Skillshare, a startup that lets any person teach a class and charge students for tickets, says 15% of its instructors have made that much money.
SkillShare is a New York startup with a lofty goal. It wants to turn every address into a classroom and every person into a teacher or student.
“NYU is a great school, but the entire state of New York can be a great university,” says Michael Karnjanaprakorn, cofounder of Skillshare.
Skillshare teachers have varied from P Diddy’s personal chef to Chris Dixon. Teachers charge whatever amount they want per ticket and find a venue to host their class.
They receive 85% of however many tickets are sold, minus a PayPal transaction fee.
“A few nights ago, [Foursquare’s Eric Friedman] and a colleague taught a class. They charged $22 and the class had 45 seats. Collectively, they made $1,000,” says Karnjanaprakorn.
Even with the 15% Skillshare keeps, the teachers brought in $400+ each.
Karnjanaprakorn says the idea for Skillshare was driven by his experience playing in the World Series of Poker tournament.
“I made it to the top 13-14%,” he says. “When I came home, a bunch of my friends were asking me to teach them to play. I realised there was no platform that would allow me to share what I knew with them easily.”
Skillshare raised a $550,000 seed round in January from Founder Collective, SV Angel, Collaborative Fund, TechStars’ David Tisch, Seamless’ Jason Finger, and Meetup’s Scott Heiferman. It launched in April and won’t be raising another round until later this year.
Although making $1,000 in one night sounds great, the 3-month old startup is still a work in progress.
Students can’t see teacher reviews, so it can be hard to tell if a class is worth the ticket price. Also, classes can get buried on the site and if they’re not promoted, no one will go. Karnjanaprakorn says they’re working on ways for teachers to better highlight courses though.
Some professional teachers have criticised Skillshare’s model; they feel educators need to be trained. Karnjanaprakorn doesn’t think that’s necessary. Most people are experts in something, he says, and they should be able to easily share their knowledge with others.
“By the time a teacher is teaching something in school, it’s often outdated or irrelevant,” he says. “We’re having people who truly understand something and are working in the field teach people what they learned that day.”