SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Parenthood is propelling tech leaders to flock to a new kind of school with roots in the Bay Area.
San Francisco-based AltSchool is on a mission to pioneer a new model of K-8 education with a proprietary technology platform that includes data analysis, wearable devices and small class sizes to emphasize individualized learning.
Founded in 2013 by former Googler Max Ventilla, the school has already raised $33 million in funding from Founders Fund and Andreeseen Horowitz, and now has plans to grow to 500 students in eight different “micro-schools” from Palo Alto to Brooklyn this year.
AltSchool announced on Wednesday top tech talent from Google, Uber and Zynga are among the recent players to join the team.
Google Distinguished Engineer Bharat Mediratta has been appointed as Chief Technology Officer, in addition to Michael Ginty, previously Uber Technologies’ Head of Global Security, who is now AltSchool’s Head of Safety.
“Education is one of the fundamental ways to improve humanity,” Mediratta said. “As the father of three children, I am highly motivated to use my decade of Google experience to enable the AltSchool platform to grow and scale.”
Gitny, who also served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, says he wants to figure new ways for keeping children safe in the classroom.
“With rises in school shootings and violence, the U.S. is moving towards a future where campuses feel less school-like and more prison-like,” Ginty said. “As a father of two young children, I want my kids to learn without fear or concern for safety, in an environment without high fences and armed guards. Designed right, technology can enable security measures to remain nearly invisible to students and teachers, while providing parents much-needed peace of mind.”
Sue Yoon, a former vice president of the ad tech firm Rocket Fuel, and Rajiv Bhatia, former director of product and studio general manager at the gaming company Zynga, are also joining the team.
AltSchool’s Tech and Innovation team alone has 19 full-time staff members with jobs ranging front-end engineers to user experience researchers.
Annual tuition costs $20,875 for the San Francisco elementary school and $21,375 for the middle school.