learning start-up Learnist is ready to monetize its roughly 10 million users, but ads are not part of the equation.
Rather, with the launch of its new mobile app for iPhone and iPod
touch, Learnist is now selling “learnboards” -- or multimedia tutorials that span the arts, technology, sports, food and fitness, among other topics -- for 99 cents a pop.
A new Digital Bookstore features lessons by director Gus Van Sant, actress and activist Olivia Wilde, designer Danny Forster, MythBusters TV host Kari Byron, former NFL star Dhani Jones, author Brad
Meltzer and others.
The look of Learnist’s interface has been described as very “Pinterest-like,” but don’t tell that to CEO Roy Gilbert. “We're very
different than Pinterest,” Gilbert said on Wednesday. “We’re about education and filling the information gap.”
As for the new business model, Gilbert said
users of the service expressed their preference for a paid service, but advertising is something Learnist is considering for the future.
At the risk of making another Pinterest
comparison, Learnist’s social component relies on users sharing their favorite learnboards — and the attractiveness of its content.
How has Gilbert and his team managed to
attract big names like Gus Van Sant and one of the MythBusters guys? It just happened by work-of-mouth, he said. “We didn’t call CAA.”
Partnerships with Discovery
Communications and BBC, among other publishers, have also helped Learnist flesh out its offerings.
Officially launched in late 2012, Learnist is backed by Atlas Venture, Benchmark
Capital, Discovery Communications, Inc., GSV Capital, Integral Capital Partners and New Schools Ventures.