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September 04, 2015

Philly startup helps learners, teachers meet

CuriousBee lets you find local, in-person classes or start your own

Technology Education
Glassworks Contributed Art/Facebook

You can sign up for glassblowing classes at East Falls Glassworks on CuriousBee.com.

It’s possible to learn almost anything on the Internet, from coding to cooking to car repair. But sometimes, people want to actually get up from their chairs and meet other people – in person!

That’s where the Philly startup CuriousBee comes in. Its co-founder, Sarah Huebscher, 27, wants the website to be the go-to source for people to find classes they can attend in real life.

“CuriousBee is a marketplace for lifelong learning and our mission is to connect people with education opportunities that are local and in-person,” said Huebscher.

The idea for the website, which is still in the beta stages, came out of conversations with friend and co-founder Anna Vresilovic.

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(From left to right: Sarah Huebscher and Anna Vresilovic. Contributed Art/CuriousBee)

“I was talking about the fact that I move around and I have trouble meeting new people whenever I move,” said Huebscher, a mechanical engineer. “I also love to take classes, and I really wanted to take classes as a way to meet new people.”

Similar to a Craigslist for continuing education, the service helps connects students with teachers. It’s free to search for and then sign up for lessons on the website, and schools or individual teachers can use the service to fill space in classes.

“You want to learn and they want to teach,” explained Huebscher.

Best of all: unlike Craigslist, people who list their classes on CuriousBee get free advertisements for their classes on Facebook. The website takes a commission only if it helps the teacher find a student.

While her co-founder is a Philly native, Huebscher hails from Boston. She decided to launch her venture in Philadelphia because its strong “culture of education” makes it an “ideal” place to test out the business.

CuriousBee hopes to initiate a service soon where students can request a class if the one they want isn’t being offered. Huebscher may request classes in her own favorite topics: cooking and yoga.

“You learn a lot more in person than you would ever by taking an online class or watching YouTube videos,” she said.

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