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. As in most online education, the classes are not interactive, though at least one course included "interactive assignments" where the student acted with other students, either in person or over Skype.
|Founders||David Rogier and Aaron Rasmussen|
|Headquarters||San Francisco, California, United States|
|David Rogier (CEO)|
MasterClass was formed by David Rogier and Aaron Rasmussen in 2014 under the name Yanka Industries. The website was published publicly under the MasterClass name on May 12, 2015. It had 30,000 sign-ups within a few months of release.
MasterClass was started with $4.5 million in initial funding and two seed-funding rounds totaling $1.9 million. This was followed by $15 million in funding announced in 2016, $35 million in 2017, and $80 million in 2018. As of 2018, MasterClass' total funding was about $130 million.
MasterClass produces online classes with "renowned personalities in their respective fields." Each class has video lessons, exercises, workbooks, and interview sessions with the instructor. A typical class has about 10-25 video lessons that are 2-5 hours each.
Classes cover topics like writing, sports, and cooking. As of 2019, the company was expanding into politics, economics, and video game design. Many instructors do live demonstrations if the topic is easy to illustrate visually, while writers lecture.
Initially, MasterClass was started with just three instructors. 12 classes were added in 2017. 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. By late 2018 MasterClass had about 50 classes and 1,000 lessons. Support for mobile devices was first added in April 2018.
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. 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.
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