Utkarsh Amitabh

Why I Invested in Maven?

Utkarsh Amitabh | Founder & CEO, Network Capital

Delighted to share that Maven, a company I invested in, just raised $20M from A16z and Andrew Chen. In its first 4 months, instructors did over $1M of course sales on Maven
Today I am excited to announce my investment in Maven, a platform that helps creators build cohort-based courses (CBCs). Cohorts and communities will be key pillars of the future of education. 

I see many areas of collaboration between Network Capital and Maven, and hope cohort-based courses become the default mode of learning online.

On Network Capital we constantly keep an eye on the content, community and career intelligence trinity. 

Content + Community + Career Intelligence = Future of Learning

Maven has been an inspiration for shaping Network Capital Fellowships which now serve thousands of subscribers around the world. The Network Capital Summer School will also be structured as a CBC.

Network Capital Fellowships

What CBCs do is they make learning a communal activity. They make the student more invested and the instructors more accountable. They transform learning from a passive content consumption scenario to an active, out-come oriented process.

1. A thriving community
2. A set of instructors hyper-focused on learning outcomes
3. A formal system of checks and balances

Webinars conclude with generic motivation (also important) while good CBCs conclude with outcomes students care about. These outcomes could range from upskilling, changing sectors, seeking side income to launching new products/communities.
CBCs, unlike other forms of online learning, are binary. Either students meet their goals or they don’t.

Traditional online learning and MOOCs are self-based while CBCs are time-bound. You need to keep up with the classes, work through assignments, take feedback from peers and instructors, and work through holidays. Case in point - Network Capital community building, investing, policy fellowships go on few hours before Holi and restart right after.

While this may seem intense, it works for busy people. This schedule does not go on in perpetuity. It functions in short bursts of intense activity followed by a break. This is not very different from how athletes train for big competitions.

In a CBC, there is intentionality, a time-bound goal and a cohort of peers who keep you motivated by their sheer presence.

You may wonder what is so innovative about this? Aren’t classrooms of any kind meant to function this way?

In theory, yes but not so much in practice. In traditional classrooms, student goals evolve organically, motivation levels vary and students go through many classes because they have to, not because they want to.

Motivation is contagious. For good CBCs, the average motivation level of a learner is substantially higher than that of someone in a classroom. Further, peer and faculty accountability make motivation higher as classes progress. This augments student achievement and makes learning fun for all.

As the CEO of Network Capital and an investor in Maven, I hope this movement to democratize cohort-based learning propels student outcome across age groups.
If you are interested in becoming a Maven instructor, signup here. If you wish to subscribe to Network Capital, use this link. We host daily office hours and are always happy to chat.

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