My partner Rebecca wrote about our most recent education investment, Sora, on the USV blog today. We have been investing in learning for over a decade at USV and have built a terrific learning portfolio focusing on companies that are providing services direct to the learner (as opposed to selling “ed tech” to institutions).
What we had not done, until now, is backed a company providing an alternative learning “institution.” Sora does that. And so I thought it would be worth talking a bit about that.
Through a combination of small social pods, self-directed projects, and student-run organizations, high schoolers shape their academic and extracurricular experience, as well as the governance of the school. Instead of tests and assessments, high schoolers prove what they know by what they can do – code a video game, wire a miniature greenhouse, or produce a paid ad spot for a company. Students are encouraged to lean into subjects that speak to them and build a project portfolio in the disciplines where they’re most excited.
Over time, Sora students hit all of the traditional curriculum milestones essential for high school graduation, in a more tactile, self-directed manner and without exams as a benchmark of their mastery or creativity. Even in these early days, Sora is wrapping up the final stages of accreditation and is part of the Mastery Transcript Consortium, meaning students graduate with a transcript easily understood by colleges if they choose to pursue that path.
So if you or your child is/are not having a great high school experience and you want something else, check out Sora. Sora is not free, like your local public high school, but it is very affordable and we hope that it becomes even more affordable over time as it scales into a new, different, and possibly better way for some to go to high school.