TakeLessons in the Union Tribune – Chromatik

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TakeLessons buys digital sheet music outfit that Bruno Mars backed early on

 

San Diego’s TakeLessons, an online marketplace for music, language and other tutoring, said Friday that it has purchased digital sheet music provider Chromatik, which counted Bruno Mars as an early investor.

The purchase price was not disclosed. Founded in 2010, Santa Monica-based Chromatik raised $7.9 million over the years from Rustic Canyon Partners, Learn Capital, Plus Capital and others. It employs six people.

Steven Cox, chief executive of TakeLessons, said the deal dovetails with his company’s efforts to provide more services to teachers and students – especially as it expands its platform to enable more live online classes.

“While we offer over 200 categories of life-long learning, our roots were planted in music as our first category,” said Cox. “Chromatik has done an incredible job building a community of people passionate about music.”

Chromatik provides a library of digital sheet music on the web and on iPads. Its catalog spans more than 20 instruments. The software includes practice tools such as online metronomes, notation, practice logs and sharing via the Chromatik app. It has more than 1 million users, said Cox.

In 2012, pop star Bruno Mars participated along with others in a $2 million seed funding round for Chromatik, according to CrunchBase, Inc. Magazine and other tech media reports.

Founded in 2006, TakeLessons is an online marketplace linking students with instructors in a range of areas including music, languages, school tutoring, computer programming and cooking. It has raised $20 million in venture capital and employs more than 45 workers in downtown San Diego.

Many TakeLessons customers – expected to reach 20 million this year – tap into the marketplace to find a local instructor for in-person lessons.

But Cox believes the future lies in providing a broader reach for students and instructors through online classes.

Earlier this year, the company rolled out its TakeLessons Classroom. The platform includes features that Cox says make it a better learning environment than using Skype or FaceTime to remotely connect students with instructors.

“We took the best we could find in what the online university learning management systems were doing and combined that with an easier-than-Skype (platform) that is substantially different than anything out there,” said Cox. “We believe it is a better experience. And the better experience students have, the longer they stay.”

Cox said online competitors such as Udemy or Skillshare use pre-recorded videos to teach. TakeLessons Classroom offers live video, instant messaging and shared screen applications for real time interaction between students and instructors. It also records lessons and delivers them to student accounts for later review, among other features.

“As business continues to move online, you have these incredible instructors who have been tethered to a specific geography, and have asked themselves how do I reach the world,” said Cox. “That is why we build this. We think it is a differentiator and truly makes for a better experience for students.”

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