From their work with purpose-led start-up teams, BurdaPrincipal Investments have made some observations where social purpose provides start-ups with distinctive competitive advantages.
While the global Corona pandemic is forcing people to stay at home, there are many ways to feel connected, manage the stress and get creative indoors. Matt Cooper, CEO of the e-learning platform Skillshare, shares his thoughts on how creativity is a powerful force in these unprecedented times and how Skillshare is trying to help people manage the crisis. Skillshare is part of the international portfolio of Burda’s growth capital arm BurdaPrincipal Investments.
What kind of initiatives have you launched to support people across all geographies during the Corona pandemic?
Especially now, we’re seeing a lot of people turn to our creative classes as a way to help manage stress, feel connected, and get creative indoors. Classes on drawing, writing, and journaling are great for creative self-discovery. We’ve also begun curating classes with easy projects to do inside, including interior design classes and fun projects to try with your kids. This is an unprecedented time, and we have a unique opportunity to help foster creativity as a powerful force for bringing us together. To that same end, we’ve also launched a number of initiatives to support our community: We’ve announced free two-month access for everyone with .edu, .k12, and .ac.uk email addresses, as well as a limited number of free memberships based on need.
Do you see a significant traffic increase on Skillshare since the pandemic?
Over the last two weeks, we’ve seen our overall activity levels rise significantly in most countries. The number of new users joining Skillshare has tripled over our normal levels. The number of lessons played in the US and Germany has doubled, and Italy and Spain have tripled.
Why do you recommend checking out Skillshare in times of social distancing and home office?
There are a lot of people looking for healthy diversion during a very stressful period, and the rise in activity that we’ve seen is a great signal that Skillshare is providing a much needed outlet. For those who cannot get outside, a creative project or sharing a creative challenge with your kids or family can help you break up your normal routine. We also have a very strong community, and for many people, this can be very beneficial. I think most of us have a long list of things we would like to learn, so maybe this time at home is the perfect excuse to invest the time to finally do it.
How is the global pandemic changing behaviors and what does this mean for Skillshare?
There are so many companies that would have sworn that working from home would never work for them. Yet they are finding a way to make it work today and some of those new routines will carry on when the virus fades. Similarly, there are people who may not have looked at online classes and community as their preferred method of learning, but they are realizing just how valuable it can be. We certainly hope the many new users who are giving us a try, and the existing users who are spending more time with us, find value in us and stay part of the community for a long time to come.
Any encouraging words you would like to share with our Burda community?
“When one door closes, a window opens.” It’s a strange time for everyone, and first and foremost we hope that everyone is following the guidelines and staying safe and healthy. Despite everything going on, I hope that everyone is finding ways to make the best of a tough situation. I get to spend a lot more time with my kids and the absence of my 3-hour-per-day commute frees up time for other things. I hope that a few of the silver linings of this ordeal stick with us for good, and in the meantime, please stay healthy and safe!