Teachstreet today announced that it has expanded the reach of its network from Seattle, WA, to Portland, OR. TeachStreet is a marketplace where teachers can list classes they offer and allows them to connect with prospective students. The range of classes offered by teachers on the site range from bike maintenance to herpetology, with a good dose of various crafts, yoga, and music lessons thrown in for good measure. Right now, the site features close to 55,000 different classes and instructors.
Well Funded and Rolling Out Slowly
TeachStreet is based in Seattle and raised a $2.25 million Series A round led be Madrona Venture Group in February 2008. TeachStreet's strategy for now seems to be to roll the service out slowly, one metro area at a time. Currently, Portland and Seattle are the only locations officially available on the site, though teaches from anywhere can list their classes on the site as well.
TeachStreet aggregates classes from various sources and allows teachers to list their own classes (or claim a class that TeachStreet already lists). At least for the Portland area, most of the classes listed on the site are from local community colleges, community organizations, and language or music schools. Teachstreet wants to inspire local experts to start teaching, but for now, it seems that it is mostly established teachers and schools who are listing their services on the site.
TeachStreet's search functions are very comprehensive and allow prospective students to restrict their search to different class sizes, age groups, ability levels, and days of the week a given class is offered. In our tests, the results we got from the search were typically very acurate (down to the days and times the classes were offered).
But What About Craigslist?
TeachStreet's most direct competitor is obviously Craigslist. In contrast to Craigslist, though, TechStreet offers its data in a far more structured way and it allows students to leave reviews of classes as well. TeachStreet's inventory of classes is also a lot more comprehensive than anything Craigslist could offer. Some enterprising TeachStreet users have, however, found a way of using TeachStreet as a tool to create Craigslist ads.
Another competitor for TeachStreet is Takelessons.com, though it focusses mostly on music, dance, and acting lessons and hence has a slightly more restricted inventory of classes.
TeachStreet is an interesting tool, both for teachers to gain more visibility, and for students to find the right classes. Thanks to its excellent search functions and well-designed layout, it stands a good chance of making a name for itself as it continues to roll out its service accross the US.