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Brainly, a Social Network for Homework Help, Snags $9 Million

Brainly raised $9 million with eyes set on U.S. expansion.

Brainly

Brainly, a social network of sorts for students asking and answering questions specifically about homework, has raised $9 million in new venture funding. The round was led by General Catalyst Partners, and includes existing investor Point Nine Capital and new investors Runa Capital and Learn Capital.

With the exception of a small $500,000 seed round in 2012, Wednesday’s funding is a first for Brainly, which claims more than 30 million unique visitors each month, according to CEO Michal Borkowski. The site works much like a message board, where users pose questions at an average of 8,000 per hour. The community, in turn, answers them as best as possible.

It has a similar functionality to Quora or Ask.com, but Brainly is exclusive to homework questions, a niche that Borkowski believes sets his company apart.

The platform is already five years old, but is headquartered in Krakow, Poland, and just recently opened a New York office last month. Borkowski plans to use the new funding to expand the office and hire aggressively in the U.S. Only 500,000 of the site’s 30 million monthly visitors are from the United States, which means there’s lots of room to grow, he added.

brainly

Of course, Brainly is only useful if the answers offered by users are accurate or helpful. That’s why Brainly has 450 moderators perusing the site at all times working to weed out the inappropriate responses or those of low quality, says Borkowski. The majority of users are students — 13- to 19-year-olds still in middle school and high school — but roughly 5 percent to 10 percent of users are teachers, he added.

Down the road, Brainly will offer a premium membership of sorts as a way to generate new revenue (it currently collects ad revenue), and may also partner with schools and school districts. Regardless of what the company does for revenue, Borkowski wants to ensure that Brainly maintains its focus on knowledge sharing for the long haul. “We fully believe the knowledge base should be open and available to everyone,” he said.

As part of the funding deal, Adam Valkin and Nitesh Banta of General Catalyst will join Brainly’s board.

Correction: Brainly updated its funding announcement to confirm that the company actually raised $9 million, not $9.4 million as it initially told Re/code.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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