Silicon Valley education start-up AltSchool has added five new executives to help take its software platform — built in eight private "lab schools" — to more schools.
"We're staffed to really support not just independent private schools like ourselves, but in the future, public schools where the majority of kids are educated," said AltSchool CEO Max Ventilla.
AltSchool has an ambitious plan to revolutionize education with its software platform, and to offer a more personalized learning experience. The company has raised $133 million in venture capital funding for research and development, and counts Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg among its backers.
The company has also drafted former Airbnb executive Laura Hughes Modi to run its services and operations. While a background at a consumer tech company might seem like an odd fit for an education startup, it actually makes a lot of sense, said Modi.
"My role here is to take a lot of those learnings that I had at Airbnb where it was about transforming an archaic system that really needed a revamp — for there it was travel and here it's education," said Modi, now AltSchool's vice president of operations and services.
AltSchool will have to offer a lot of hands-on training and spend a lot of time onsite working directly with educators to help them get onto the platform, she said.
AltSchool's platform comprises of two key products. Educators log into "Portrait" for a dynamic picture of each child's progress and history, both academic and non-academic. Students log into their "Playlist" to complete a customized set of assignments, submit work and communicate with teachers.