Home Madrid language schools Domestika raises $110M at a $1.3B valuation to expand its learning community for creative types – TechCrunch

Domestika raises $110M at a $1.3B valuation to expand its learning community for creative types – TechCrunch

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The creative community is a ripe target for startups creating tools and services to serve their interests and needs as they transition from their traditionally offline practices to a digital present and future. In one of the latest developments, Domesticated – a popular site that creates and sells online video tutorials and courses covering a range of visual arts and related skills, creating a larger community around this content where members can also interact and learn from each other – raised $110 million in funding at a $1.3 billion valuation.

This Series D is led by long-time investor Zeev Ventures, with additional contributions from GSV and other anonymous private investors, and it has now raised approximately $200 million to date. Its current valuation of $1.3 billion is a huge boost from its last round, in October 2021, when Domestika closed a modest Series C of $20 million on a valuation of $350 million, according to PitchBook The data.

A lot goes into the logic behind these numbers. First, the size of the company today. Domestika currently offers over 2,000 courses, created by 1,300 creative professionals, and adds an average of 110 new courses each month, covering topics as diverse as crochet techniques, animal painting and editing for Instagram. . It has over 8 million members and they have collectively taken over 13 million courses.

“And those numbers are growing,” co-founder and CEO Julio G. Cotorruelo said in an interview, referring to the courses but also the company’s user community. “It’s starting to be a big number. On this scale, no one does as many creative courses as we do. The courses are produced by Domestika, but in collaboration with the teachers, “great professionals but perhaps not good at producing an online course”, Cotorruelo said. “So we do it together. Then, at the end of the day, teachers are also members of our community. The wheel never stops.

There are courses presented in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Italian, and in addition all courses have subtitles in English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, French, Polish and Dutch.

home Sweet Home

Originally started in Madrid as a modest (= small) online community for creatives, then transplanted to the Bay Area (Berkeley, to be precise) when it decided to expand into learning in line, Domestika has been somewhat under the radar. This is largely, it seems, because he never made the effort to talk to the media very much or talk to many people except those in his target community – my interview with Cotorruelo , the company told me, was one of the first and only interviews he ever did.

(Its name, by the way, was thought of by its co-founder, Gabriel Suchowolski, as a reference not to domestic arts, but to feeling at home in the community. You are with your people, said Cotorruelo: home.” The other two co-founders of the company are Tomy Pelluz and David Duprez.)

Domestika has been around for years – it was founded in 2002 – but its focus and the attention it currently receives draws on a few areas that have proven particularly popular recently with users, and in turn, investors.

An important fact is how the community is organized around a common interest, in this case artistic and creative production. At a time when many are turning away from large, general-purpose social experiences in favor of smaller groups or groups based on specific interests, and in general more controlled environments where you are less likely to be harassed and perhaps less the target of malicious hackers looking for the biggest impact, Domestika’s goal stands out. (In this respect, even Facebook has been pushing the idea of ​​communities and groups, though I would say from my own experience that its more open DNA and sheer size make keeping those communities focused a daily chore for the administrators of these communities.)

Picture credits: Domesticated

Another is the startup’s focus on online learning. Education has been one of the biggest categories in the tech industry over the past couple of years. Traditional education providers (schools, colleges, universities, but also nurseries, vocational training centers and really everywhere you could have gone for a course) are turning to remote collaboration services to continue teaching as the pandemic has made in-person classes impossible. But also, consumers – with much of their regular activities outside the home curtailed – have turned indoors, and self-improvement has become quite a big topic, driving record levels of traffic. in areas such as language learning, vocational training and more.

These two elements have played a significant role in Domestika’s growth and its appeal to investors.

It’s not the only company focused on creating services for the global community of creative professionals and enthusiasts. CreativeLive is another that focused on educational content specifically for this market segment. Others, like Superside, create tools to help its users connect to job opportunities and then manage those engagements and workflows through its platform. Much bigger players like Adobe have also created a strong platform by building tools and community services for creatives, and you can imagine how it could eventually create more content, both based on its own tools but also on more general skills, to keep these users engaged.

Domestika’s business model speaks of an interesting approach which has also contributed to its popularity.

Joining the Domestika community is free and users pay for the courses, and these fees account for almost all of Domestika’s revenue. (Note: some courses are free, too, tasters to get people interested in buying courses.) These courses are still sold a la carte, not on a monthly subscription.

“We don’t believe in an at-will model,” Cotorruelo said. “The nature of the commitment you make when you decide to take a course is different from entertainment.” The price is on average between $10 and $15 per course, and for this you have forever access to this video and the community attached to the course, which can review your work and give you feedback whenever you want. The system is sticky enough that two-thirds of Domestika’s 8 million users are active participants.

You can get certifications for some courses, but that kind of professional development isn’t really the point, he said. “It’s all about joy and creativity,” said Cotorruelo, who pointed out that people mostly pay and take classes on Domestika “because they like it. Of course, you might get a better job or earn more money from learning a new skill, but it’s mostly about joy.

And when it comes to jobs, recruiting and professional networking to land jobs is not something that Domestika has formally implemented as part of its platform, although sometimes it happens by chance. There are no plans to either, which contrasts with, say, LinkedIn, which not only provides educational videos, but has recently created exactly that kind of marketplace for freelancers.

“At a time when it has never been more vital for people to follow their passions and tap into their creativity, Domestika now has the ability to impact millions of other people around the world through its unique approach to creativity education,” said founding partner Oren Zeev. at Zeev Ventures, in a statement. “Julio and his team have done an outstanding job in achieving their vision of creating meaningful social learning experiences and bringing together curious minds from around the world. I’m thrilled to support the team as they continue to innovate and grow.

“GSV Ventures is so proud to align itself with the team at Domestika, who prove every day that learning should be social, joyful and beautiful,” added Deborah Quazzo, Managing Partner of GSV Ventures. “Domestika is a game-changer in our approach to learning and creativity, enabling 8 million learners and over 1300 teachers around the world to pursue their creative passions. We are excited about their opportunities to continue to grow and scale globally.”