Craftsy, a Startup Synthesis of YouTube and Etsy, Cinches $50 Million in New Funding

Craftsy, a Startup Synthesis of YouTube and Etsy, Cinches $50 Million in New Funding
Image credit: Craftsy via Facebook

Craftsy, a Denver-based startup that vends online video courses in quilting, cake decorating, photography and more, has just announced a seismic fourth funding round of $50 million, bringing the company’s total financing to $106 million.

The round was led by Stripes Group.

Craftsy, described by The New York Times as “a hybrid of YouTube and Etsy” -- with perhaps a bit of Pinterest thrown in -- is an e-learning marketplace comprising over 500 video tutorials across 16 craft categories. Check out, for instance, this $25 tutorial on how to sew your own bra.

Five hundred additional courses will be added next year, the company said in a press release. And the site also sells complementary supplies for its course roster, including fabric, yarn, baking tools and more.

Related: Entrepreneurs Who Turned Hobbies into Million-Dollar Businesses

Revenues would seem to indicate that the concept has taken off. Founded in 2010, Craftsy currently counts 5 million (predominately female) users from 180 countries, who generated $12 million in revenue in 2012 and $24 million in 2013. The company expects earnings to double again this year, according to the Times.

Nevertheless, “online learning is still in its early innings,” insists Dan Marriott, managing partner of Stripes Group and a Craftsy board member. What distinguishes Craftsy from free online learning portals like YouTube and competing Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) services, executives say, is that it rigorously screens potential instructors and also ensures high quality video resolution.

Craftsy pays experts in each respective field to teach its courses, spending roughly $15,000 to film each session. Teachers receive a 15 percent cut of revenues generated by each of their classes, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“Through the combination of our best-in-class learning platform, market-defining brand and highly engaging premium content, Craftsy is changing the paradigm of online learning,” Craftsy CEO John Levisay said in a statement.

Related: Planning a MOOC? Keep This in Mind

Edition: November 2016

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