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March 4, 2015

AltSchool Hires Top Execs from Google, Uber, Rocket Fuel and Zynga to Help Reinvent Education from the Ground Up

Google’s Bharat Mediratta Joins Founding Team as CTO; Uber’s Michael Ginty Becomes AltSchool’s Head of Safety

  • AltSchool will grow to 500 students in 8 different micro-schools in 2015
  • Over 2,200 applicants vied for 20 new teacher positions for current school year
  • Innovation and growth driven by over 100 employees, including 25 educators
  • AltSchool opening new schools coast to coast—from Palo Alto to Brooklyn
  • Read more behind-the-scenes news at: http://blog.altschool.com/anniversary

San Francisco – Mar 4, 2015 – AltSchool today announced that top executives from Google, Uber, Rocket Fuel, and Zynga have joined serial entrepreneur, Max Ventilla, to help reinvent education from the ground up. AltSchool will tap their deep experience in critical functional areas to create a network of micro-schools that pioneer an entirely new model of K-8 education. Executive appointments include:

  • CTO, Bharat Mediratta (previously Google’s Distinguished Engineer in charge of the Google.com homepage and search results experience)
  • Head of Safety, Michael Ginty (previously Head of Global Security at Uber)
  • VP of Finance, Sue Yoon (previously Rocket Fuel’s VP of Corporate Development)
  • VP of Product, Rajiv Bhatia (previously Director of Product and Studio GM at Zynga)

Along with some of the world’s most respected educators and technologists, in 2013 Max built the first AltSchool in San Francisco. AltSchool operates physical schools throughout the Bay Area and built a proprietary technology platform to enable educators to personalize learning for each student.

Since raising $33 million in funding from Founders Fund and Andreessen Horowitz last March, AltSchool has opened 3 additional micro-schools, grown from 20 to 150 students and more than tripled company headcount—from 30 to 100+ employees. Over 2,200 candidates applied for 20 new teacher spots in 2014. This fall, AltSchool will open new schools in California and New York to accommodate 500 students in 2015.

“A year ago, our internal narrative was that education has failed to keep pace with accelerating changes in the broader world because we chronically underinvest in research and development as an industry, but that’s only half the story,” said Max Ventilla, CEO and founder of AltSchool. “Creating a new model for school requires you to structurally innovate on a practically overwhelming number of fronts. By operating schools ourselves in a full-stack way, we can both evolve a modern education approach and develop a platform to support the broader education ecosystem. With these new hires, AltSchool has joined with masters of various domains essential to our prospects for 21st century education at scale.”

Top Talent Join AltSchool

Bharat Mediratta was Google’s Distinguished Engineer in charge of the Google.com homepage and search results experience. As such, he was responsible for the technology underpinning a decade of major feature and infrastructure launches in Search. From inheriting a legacy system in 2004, Bharat built an organization of over two hundred to create a platform that today supports over one thousand engineers contributing to a product with over one billion users. During this time, he established an engineering culture widely recognized and respected within Google. Bharat brings a deep understanding of how to successfully build and scale complex systems and organizations. He joins AltSchool’s founding team as a transformative CTO, taking a pivotal role in AltSchool's growth over the next ten years.

"Education is one of the fundamental ways to improve humanity and AltSchool is tapping into the very real possibility of using technology to change the future,” said Bharat Mediratta, CTO of AltSchool. “As AltSchool shifts models from single schools to a network of interlinked sites, I believe we can become the foundation used by schools everywhere to fundamentally impact the quality of education. As the father of three children, I am highly motivated to use my decade of Google experience to enable the AltSchool platform to grow and scale.”

Michael Ginty was previously Head of Global Security at Uber, the lead for executive security at Apple and a consultant with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Michael possesses a prescient ability to get to the heart of security concerns and quickly implement new systems to create a safe and secure environment. He brings expansive experience from years spent as a military officer and federal agent, alongside tenure at leading technology companies. Michael joins AltSchool to roll out a whole new vision for keeping children safe in the classroom—both for AltSchool and for all schools.

“With rises in school shootings and violence, the U.S. is moving towards a future where campuses feel less school-like and more prison-like,” said Michael Ginty, Head of Safety at AltSchool. “As a father of two young children, I want my kids to learn without fear or concern for safety, in an environment without high fences and armed guards. Designed right, technology can enable security measures to remain nearly invisible to students and teachers, while providing parents much-needed peace of mind. I’ll not only be driving a new model for AltSchool, but also working to bring the approach to schools on a national stage.”

Sue Yoon joined AltSchool in 2014 as VP of Finance. Previously VP of Corporate Development at Rocket Fuel, Sue has an extensive background in both investment banking and private equity. As VP of Finance, Sue is on a mission to make an AltSchool education accessible to all children, working to reduce operating costs while improving quality. Her daughter will enroll at AltSchool this fall.

Raj Bhatia also joined the company in 2014 as VP of Product. As a Studio GM and Director of Product at Zynga, Raj embraced the user-driven, continuous innovation approach employed by technology’s fastest growing, most prolific companies. As the father of two young daughters, “the prospect of working to solve one of the most pressing modern day problems was too big an opportunity to pass up.”

Preview of Milestones and Changes Coming Soon

In addition to the expansion of its executive team, 2014 was a hallmark year for AltSchool in many core areas—from the introduction of new features within the AltSchool platform to implementing programs that enable AltSchool to iterate the education experience in real time. To highlight that growth, today AltSchool will share a behind-the-scenes article that highlights key insights and changes for the upcoming school year, including:

  • Moving from individual schools to a networked school model
  • Rolling out student, parent and teacher satisfaction programs
  • Developing custom parent communication networks
  • A 50 percent increase in student work captured digitally
  • New tools and plans in the works to improve education in real time

Check out the full article at http://blog.altschool.com/anniversary

About AltSchool

AltSchool is reimagining K-8 education from the ground up to achieve its mission to enable all children to reach their full potential. AltSchool’s world-class team of educators, entrepreneurs, and technologists is working to build a network of micro-schools that offer personalized, child-centered learning experiences. Founded in 2013 by technology entrepreneur and parent Max Ventilla and headquartered in San Francisco, AltSchool is backed by Founders Fund, Andreessen Horowitz, First Round Capital, Harrison Metal, John Doerr, Jonathan Sackler, Learn Capital, Omidyar Network and other leading investors. AltSchool currently operates schools in San Francisco and will be expanding to Brooklyn and Palo Alto in fall 2015. More information at www.altschool.com.

Maggie Quale
Media Relations for AltSchool
831-325-7943
maggie@altschool.com

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