One Month has raised two seed rounds and is adding three new classes to its library of bite-sized online courses.
The New York City-based startup has raised an additional $1.9 million, co-led by Arena Ventures and previous investor, Idea Bulb Ventures. Cornerstone OnDemand also participated through the Cornerstone Innovation Fund. This funding comes almost exactly a year after One Month raised $770,000 in June 2014.
Founded in August 2013, the company generated early buzz with a popular course on Ruby on Rails. But the company’s mission is “more than teaching people how to code in a month. It’s about teaching people how to build things,” says One Month CEO and co-founder, Mattan Griffel.
As its name implies, the company believes it has found the “right amount of time for a course to be both valuable and easy for people to commit,” according to Griffel. Each one-month class is designed to require just two to three hours of work per week—a small time investment in comparison to other providers. Griffel is clear that One Month is not supposed to turn beginners into experts, but rather to “help learners acquire enough skills to build a working version of their ideas.”
This focus on practical skills attracted students like Srin Madipalli, a handicapped student who, after completing the One Month Rails course, built the first prototype of a tool now called Accomable, which aspires to be a mashup of Expedia and AirBnB for people with physical disabilities. “While there is eventually a time and place for learning programming in more detail,” Madipalli tells EdSurge via email, “at the beginning, I feel entrepreneurs like myself are generally more interested in just building something useful for our users.”
The focus on helping learners acquire, within a short time, just-good-enough skills could help One Month carve out its niche in a market chock-full of other lifelong learning services including Curious.com, Udemy and LinkedIn’s Lynda.com. There are also free courses available via MOOC providers, but Griffel isn’t worried. “You can’t take a three-month long course, put it online and expect students to be as patient as they are in-person,” he says.
Griffel adds the company is also not focused on directly helping people get jobs, as is the value proposition for many learn-to-code companies. Rather, “we are focusing on building a ‘For Dummies’ brand,” referring to the once-popular self-help reference guides.
Altogether, the One Month team currently numbers 20 employees, which includes 11 full-time staff along with part-time teachers and writers. Griffel expects to double that within the next year, with a focus on hiring for technology support and content.