If you’re a student, you probably know that school isn’t especially lenient. You might be a genius in your English class, but it won’t prevent the math teacher from giving you tons of homework that looks suspiciously like hieroglyphs. This is where Brainly, a collaborative learning community, comes in: just post your homework on its website and you will have some other student help you in no time.
“People have always been helping each other out with problems in learning,” says Jakub Piwnik, Brainly’s Communications Manager. “Brainly takes this behavior and gives it an online dimension. We provide students with a simple and accessible way to work through questions on their coursework. Brainly offers a supportive community of like-minded peers that fills the gaps students face in their own schools – whether those gaps are social, behavioral, or academic.”
With over 60 million monthly users across 35 countries and over 100,000 questions answered daily, Brainly is one of the biggest databases of students’ questions on the web. Its main strength, though, lies in the community it creates. This platform allows students to help one another with homework in so-called “peer-to-peer learning”. The most popular language versions of the website already achieved an impressive responsiveness – 80% of questions are answered within 10 minutes.
Brainly encourages active participation in the community. The platform is gamified, using its own form of currency – points that are earned by registering, regular visits on the website, recommending Brainly to others and, most importantly, answering questions. Users have to spend points if they want to post their own question. This system also allows for ranking users, from Beginners to Geniuses. Those who make the top of ranks become community moderators, whose responsibility is to verify the clarity and accuracy of answers. Currently over 1000 such moderators review all questions on a daily basis.
Brainly doesn’t focus solely on providing the answers to popular questions, but puts special emphasis on curiosity and the searching process. “Students learn how to ask a stronger question, which is crucial to obtaining the appropriate answer,” says Piwnik. “Brainly’s platform is specifically designed to encourage students to explore the subject in greater detail.”
Brainly was founded by Michał Borkowski (the current CEO), Tomasz Kraus and Łukasz Haluch. While still at university, Michał created his own Q&A platforms. Tomasz and Łukasz had a lot of experience in SEO optimization and creating IT teams. The first version of Brainly, called zadane.pl, was launched on the Polish market in 2009.
The company has raised a total of $27 million during seed rounds. Their investors include Naspers, General Catalyst Partners, Point Nine Capital, Learn Capital and Runa Capital. Currently Brainly focuses on increasing its user base, as the platform works like any other social network: the more users it has, the more new students come to their website to help this community grow.