Wikipedia can be a wonderful resource, but one of the “problems” with the platform is that sometimes you find yourself “going down the rabbit hole”, or getting sucked into a topic. This can be fun most of the time, but for many there is simply not much time, as people have kids to raise and jobs to do. Ukrainian startup Highbrow wants to help those who crave cultural knowledge, but who cannot typically find the time, with a series of short courses that allows you to learn about a topic in less time than it takes you to drink your morning coffee.
Despite a plethora of courses, Highbrow will not let you burn through them all at once, allowing users to sign up for only one at a time and receive a free, short (5-10 minutes) lesson each day via email. At the moment, there are 47 courses in 10 categories, covering topics such as health, art, philosophy, nature, productivity, science, startups, psychology, literature, and history. Courses range from “Prominent artists of modern art” to “Street artists you should know” to “Greatest mathematicians” and more. At the moment, co-founder Artem Zavyalov says that they are primarily concerned with expanding their userbase and not as much with generating revenue. However, they will need to begin making money at some point and he tells me that they are thinking about creating paid courses and premium accounts, which would offer more access to personalization options.
Sometimes you expand your userbase with a carefully crafted marketing strategy, but sometimes you simply get a bit lucky and the latter may the case here, as Zavyalov tells that, just a few days after launching, they were unexpectedly featured on Product Hunt, which led to an initial burst of traction and allowing them to attract a critical group of 5K early users. They have hardly slowed down since, currently reporting 45K users since the service launched in September 2014. Zavyalov reports that 87% of courses begun are successfully completed, while they also maintain an average email-open rate of 67%. At the moment, the team behind Highbrow is funding the project themselves.