CEO & Entrepreneur
Andrew Sutherland (born: 1989) is the founder and CTO of Quizlet, one of the largest educational platforms in the world. Andrew’s entrepreneurial journey started in October 2005, at the age of 15, when he developed Quizlet as a tool to help him in a school quiz. The program was released to the public in January 2007 and now has 20 million unique users every month and is ranked consistently among the top 100 websites in the entire US. After spending three years studying for his computer science degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Andrew took a break from studies and started working full time for Quizlet.
Background Of Success
Andrew Sutherland was in his second year at Albany High School, California when he developed a web program that helped him memorize 111 animal names for his French test. The flash cards he developed helped him score a 100 percent in that test. But he did not stop there and kept working on the code to create Quizlet, the go-to-resource for US high school students.
Quizlet is a website and an app which allows students and teachers to create flashcards, study sessions and other learning tools. It is considered as the pioneer in education gamification. According to the analytics on Similarweb.com, it has a monthly traffic (non-unique) of over 67 million and is ranked the 14th largest site (as per traffic volume) in the Career and Education category.
The Drop-Out Entrepreneur
Andrew Sutherland had to make the hardest decision of his life on dropping out after studying computer sciences at MIT for three years. He was devoting all of his free time and his school breaks to Quizlet but understood that he needed to pick. Passion prevailed over “logic” and he dropped out to continue at Quizlet as CTO.
“I knew I wouldn’t be able to do both well,” he says. “I saw how big Quizlet was getting, how many people were using it and how big an impact it could have for millions of students.” – mashable Here is a photo now of the Quizlet team and staff members standing on the rooftop patio of their office
Since inception, the website has hosted more than 2 billion study sessions and 150 million study sets. Though Quizlet has been in black from its early years, it raised $12 million in 2012 from four investors (Altos Ventures, Costanoa Ventures, Owl Ventures LP and Union Square Ventures) in its aim to reach 1 billion learners. The San Francisco headquartered company has a team of over 50 and recently launched Quizlet Live in April 2016; a classroom game platform specifically developed for teachers.
Andrew’s vision is to make learning a more fun loving and engaging experience for the students. He was of the view that learning can be made exciting by replacing books with interesting content, games, and flashcards. Under Andrew, Quizlet has added 17 more languages to the platform that will help it reach learners in multiple countries. He also executed the visual redesigning of Quizlet to make it more consistent and for providing a higher UX experience.
Net Worth and Stats
With the $12 Million investment, Andrew Sutherland is definitely a multi-millionaire. The company is reported to earn revenues north of $10 million a year. It currently runs on a freemium revenue model with Quizlet Plus available at $15 a year.
Node Jam – Andrew Sutherland won the coveted “Node Jam” with Quizlet at the Node Summit in 2012, which focuses on the best applications using the computing language Node j.s. Along with the award; the company pocketed $100,000 in prizes.
Forbes 30 under 30, 2012 and 2013 – This young entrepreneur has also made it to the elite list of “Forbes 30 under 30” twice, where the magazine nominates a list of 30 individuals under 30 who are disrupting the field of education.
Publication – A Self-Labeling Speech Corpus: Collecting Spoken Words with an Online Educational Game
In 2009, Andrew collaborated with researchers at MTI’s SLS group to improve their speech recognizer. They deployed a real-time web-based speech recognizer that let students on Quizlet answer questions by voice; any discrepancy was fed back into the recognizer model.
Social Media Impact
With an approximate 2700 Twitter followers, Andrew Sutherland is not a quintessential rockstar tech entrepreneur. His motivation is the impact his creation can have on students and learners as compared to the rate race for revenue growth and highest valuation. He still spends the majority of his time developing products and features and even more importantly on responding to thousands of feedback messages received every month. His entire focus is on the product with a professional CEO on board for financial, administrative and monetization initiatives. With 1 in 2 high school student and 1 in 3 college student using Quizlet, he has definitely created the benchmark in edutech space. It will be interesting to see how he leverages the Quizlet brand in gaining market share on a global level.