Class Companion, an emerging AI platform that enables teachers to provide fast, personalized feedback to students, recently announced a $4 million seed round led by Index Ventures, with participation from the OpenAI Startup Fund and notable angels, including renowned operator and advisor Gokul Rajaram, Managing Director of Otherwise Fund Terrence Rohan, and AI luminary Andrej Karpathy, founding Research Scientist at OpenAI and former Senior Director of AI at Tesla.
With this round of funding, the San Francisco-based company intends to improve the teacher experience and expand the team as teachers use their expertise to shape AI to help students learn in new and exciting ways.
Class Companion, co-founded by Avery Pan and Jack Forbes, empowers teachers to give instant feedback and support students to learn at their own pace. Thousands of teachers use the AI platform to create assignments, engage students, generate feedback, and gain insights into progress. In addition to detailed feedback, the platform provides hints and contextual knowledge, modification suggestions, and progress recognition. Teachers have complete control over the process and can override the AI to have the final say.
With Class Companion, teachers can focus more energy on group discussion, individual instruction, and lesson planning—all of which are informed by the quality and volume of feedback the platform provides. The startup uniquely supports teachers by enabling them to customize their end-to-end experience, including assignments, rubrics, and insights into each student’s learning.
Speaking about the platform, Co-founder & CEO of Class Companion, Avery Pan, said:
If we want to use AI to improve education, we need more teachers at the table. Teachers design Class Companion for teachers to harness the most sophisticated AI and improve their classroom experience. Developing technologies specifically for teachers is imperative to supporting the next generation of students and the education system.
Students learn best when they receive immediate feedback and the opportunity to correct their errors. According to studies, when students are given a safe atmosphere to practice and make mistakes, they are highly motivated—even tenacious—to improve.
Thousands of teachers using Class Companion have observed faster learning, more motivated students, and a better understanding of what their students do and don’t comprehend so that they can modify their instruction accordingly. At the same time, students love the platform since it makes learning more enjoyable. They no longer have to wait a week for the task to be returned, by which time they have forgotten about it.
Peter Paccone, a teacher at San Marino High School and advisor to Class Companion, stated:
Class Companion is a game-changer. My students want to know how they can do better, and they keep at it. Class Companion has allowed us to cover more material quickly and deepen our discussions.
Class Companion began when co-founder Avery Pan looked for ways to assist her Deerfield High School instructors and her mother and mother-in-law, both of whom were former English professors. Pan understood the need for precise criticism as a writing tutor. She teamed up with co-founder Jack Forbes, former founder of a Y-Combinator-backed company and tech lead at Masterclass, whose mom works at Bainbridge High School, to start Class Companion. When ChatGPT caused teachers to fret about cheating, Pan and Forbes connected over their shared belief that AI could be used to assist teachers and students better. They resolved to work with teachers to create a resource that reflects their goals.
Nina Achadjian, Partner, Index Ventures, commented:
Class Companion has created a seamless way for teachers to leverage cutting-edge AI technology that gives them and their students a far better school experience. Avery and the team have built trust with teachers, students, and parents, delighting them with an easy-to-use and effective platform for personalized feedback.