Yanka Industries, Inc. dba MasterClass is an American online education platform. Students can access tutorials and lectures pre-recorded by experts in various fields. The concept was conceived by David Rogier and Aaron Rasmussen.[2] As in most online education, the classes are not interactive,[3] though at least one course included "interactive assignments" where the student acted with other students, either in person or over Skype.[4]

Yanka Industries, Inc.
Founded2014 (2014)
FoundersDavid Rogier and Aaron Rasmussen
HeadquartersSan Francisco, California, United States
Key people
David Rogier (CEO)[1]


MasterClass was formed by David Rogier and Aaron Rasmussen in 2014 under the name Yanka Industries.[5][6] The website was published publicly under the MasterClass name on May 12, 2015.[7] It had 30,000 sign-ups within a few months of release.[8][5]

MasterClass was started with $4.5 million in initial funding and two seed-funding rounds totaling $1.9 million.[9] This was followed by $15 million in funding announced in 2016,[9] $35 million in 2017,[6] and $80 million in 2018.[10] As of 2018, MasterClass' total funding was about $130 million.[11]


MasterClass produces online classes with "renowned personalities in their respective fields."[12] Each class has video lessons, exercises, workbooks, and interview sessions with the instructor.[7] A typical class has about 10-25 video lessons that are 2-5 hours each.[7]

Classes cover topics like writing, sports, and cooking.[13] As of 2019, the company was expanding into politics, economics, and video game design.[14] Many instructors do live demonstrations if the topic is easy to illustrate visually, while writers lecture.[14]

Initially, MasterClass was started with just three instructors.[7] 12 classes were added in 2017.[15] In late 2017, two acting classes, given by Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman, were removed after multiple sexual assault allegations were publicly made against the two actors.[16] By late 2018 MasterClass had about 50 classes and 1,000 lessons.[17] Support for mobile devices was first added in April 2018.[10]


Some journalists have written that while the classes do not teach technical skills to improve proficiency in the craft, they provide insight into the grueling nature of artistic pursuits and striving for perfection while inspiring a love of the craft.[18][19][20][21][22][23] The Verge noted that while the subscriptions last a lifetime, each course has little replay value, and so it is challenging to keep the student learning within the platform once they have viewed the video classes.[24]


  1. "MasterClass, the education platform featuring all-star instructors, will soon teach you how to run for office, too – TechCrunch". TechCrunch – Startup and Technology News. October 3, 2018. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  2. Loizos, Connie (February 23, 2016). "MasterClass Raises $15 Million For Online Classes Taught By Celebrities". TechCrunch. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  3. Fleming, Mike Jr (April 20, 2017). "David Mamet Teaches Master Class On Writing For Stage & Screen". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  4. Lusher, Adam (May 29, 2015). "Dustin Hoffman's online acting class: What it's like to learn from the master". The Independent. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  5. Kokalitcheva, Kia (February 23, 2016). "Here's How To Learn Acting From Kevin Spacey And Singing From Christina Aguilera". Fortune. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
  6. Spangler, Todd; Spangler, Todd (March 28, 2017). "MasterClass, Purveyor of Celebrity Online Courses, Raises $35 Million Led by IVP". Variety. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
  7. Gardner, Chris (May 12, 2015). "Dustin Hoffman, Serena Williams and James Patterson Team for MasterClass Project". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
  8. Holson, Laura (September 27, 2015). "How to Take a Class From Serena Williams and Usher". The New York Times. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
  9. Spangler, Todd (February 23, 2016). "Startup MasterClass Raises $15 Million, Launches Kevin Spacey Acting Tutorial". Variety.
  10. Clark, Kate (September 6, 2018). "MasterClass raises $80M after doubling sales last year". TechCrunch. Retrieved February 18, 2019.
  11. Sawers, Paul (September 6, 2018). "MasterClass raises $80 million to bring celebrity mentors to the masses". VentureBeat. Retrieved February 18, 2019.
  12. McCarvel, Nick (May 12, 2015). "Serena Williams helping tennis players reach their goals". USA TODAY. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
  13. Spangler, Todd; Spangler, Todd (August 9, 2018). "Ken Burns to Launch Documentary Filmmaking Course Online With MasterClass". Variety. Retrieved February 18, 2019.
  14. Rudin, David S. (January 16, 2019). "MasterClass sells the idea that successful people have something to teach you". Vox. Retrieved February 18, 2019.
  15. Spangler, Todd; Spangler, Todd (April 20, 2017). "David Mamet to Teach Online Drama Writing Course". Variety. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
  16. Hayes, Dade (October 31, 2017). "Kevin Spacey MasterClass Dropped From Online Instructional Video Hub". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  17. Chan, Tim (October 27, 2018). "Online Classes to Take If You Want to Make It in the Movie Business". Variety.
  18. Reed, Sam (May 10, 2016). "Christina Aguilera's MasterClass in Singing Through the Eyes of a Non-Singer". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  19. Kaufman, Amy (July 14, 2017). "In this digital self-help age, just how effective are MasterClass's A-list celebrity workshops?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  20. Osburn, Christopher (May 29, 2017). "Can Gordon Ramsay's MasterClass Make You A Master Chef? We Tried It". AskMen. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  21. Golembewski, Vanessa (August 10, 2015). "I Took An Acting Class With Dustin Hoffman — & This Is What Happened". Refinery29. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  22. Maynard, Joyce (August 4, 2015). "An Accomplished Writer Takes a 'MasterClass' From a Gargantuan Selling Writer". Observer. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  23. Zoladz, Lindsay (December 29, 2015). "What I Learned From Usher's Online Class on 'the Art of Performance'". Vulture. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  24. Plaugic, Lizzie (May 15, 2017). "Who is MasterClass for? Talking to the people who take online classes with big-name celebs". The Verge. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
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