MILWAUKEE, May 10, 2021 Fiveable, a social learning community for high school students, has acquired Hours, a virtual studying platform. In the last week, 400,000+ Fiveable students studied together for upcoming exams through live programming and engaging community spaces. This acquisition now allows them to create single and multiplayer study rooms that increase motivation and accountability as students connect with peers working towards the same goals.
Sixteen-year-old Calix Huang founded Hours in October 2020, seeking to help students increase productivity by connecting them through virtual study rooms while at home during the pandemic. Currently a high school junior in the Bay Area, Huang has held software engineering internships and professional contracts at a variety of tech startups such as Hack+ and eXomoonAI. He is also the founder of Launch Tech LLC, which incubates student-focused ventures like Ortexo, NPO Core, and w3Hacks, all of which were acquired by NovaCrypt. As part of Fiveable’s acquisition, Huang will join their team as a Lead Product Manager to accelerate the growth of Hours.
“I love that Fiveable genuinely cares about helping students. They understand their students better than any other edtech company I’ve seen and build to better serve them. This partnership closely aligns with my values and will provide the necessary structure and resources to grow Hours as a platform that can directly impact millions of students around the world,” said Huang.
Students can study in Hours with either single-player focus or multi-player rooms. Study sessions include live text and video chat, editable task lists with visualized progress, customizable timers, built-in music feature with a lo-fi playlist, as well as focus mode to minimize distractions. While launched only six months ago, the study tool has been used by more than 17,000 students across 120 countries including students from colleges and universities like Stanford University, MIT, NYU, Dartmouth, Berkeley University of California and others.
“Virtual group studying is one of the many trends that took off during the pandemic and is indefinitely here to stay. Edtech tools of the last two decades have focused heavily on one-on-one tutoring and single-player content, but students are finding one another and organically building community spaces outside of these traditional environments,” explains Amanda DoAmaral, co-founder and CEO of Fiveable. “Having Calix and his team lead product strategy for Hours allows us to continue creating decentralized spaces where students can work directly with one another––one small step towards educational equity.”
Since the company’s inception, Fiveable has followed the mantra ‘by and for students.’ They built a team of 800 Founding Members to help solidify the Fiveable Community roadmap last summer and hired a team of 120+ paid student interns this spring to support every team such as student success, community engagement, content creation, and social marketing. Fiveable has prioritized student collaboration in developing its product while providing real-life professional experience to young adults.
“Aside from the clear alignment with our company’s growth goals, the acquisition of a company founded by a 16-year-old coder and edtech innovator couldn’t be more fitting for us,” said Tán Ho, co-founder and chief experience officer at Fiveable. “We trust and respect young people and actively seek out ways to include their voices in what we do, so we’re grateful for Calix coming on board and believing in our team.”
To build on the engagement success that Fiveable has experienced with AP students, the company is exploring additional educational and professional development markets that would benefit from their playbook such as other standardized exams, college admissions, academic skill building, and career exploration. Students in any of these future programs will be able to leverage Hours for small study groups, accountability teams, and more.
Fiveable is on a mission to democratize education through social learning. The student-centered platform includes a robust content library, engaging community spaces, and interactive live programming that connects students who are learning the same thing at the same time. Fiveable has supported more than 4M high school students since it was co-founded in 2018 by educator and activist Amanda DoAmaral along with community builder Tán Ho. The company’s first social learning community focused on Advanced Placement (AP) exams and maintains a 92% pass rate for students year-over-year.