Sketchy Medical Raises $3 Million to Expand Beyond Medicine

Sketchy Medical Raises $3 Million to Expand Beyond Medicine

Sketchy Medical is getting a Silicon Valley VC assist to help it shake up the $9 billion textbook industry.

The Los Angeles company announced Wednesday it has expanded its Series A round with a $3 million infusion from Reach Capital, a Bay Area venture capital firm that focuses exclusively on education. The investment comes after the Chernin Group acquired a majority stake in the startup for $30 million in September.

Founded in 2013 by four medical students, Sketchy Medical produces videos to help students memorize the dense material that getting through med school requires. Tufts, Georgetown, Tulane and University of South Carolina are among the schools that have purchased subscriptions for their students.

With its new capital, the company now wants to break into other fields as it launches its own animation studio.

"We've got this pedagogy that we've been able to successfully apply to really complex medical school material," said Saud Siddiqui, M.D., co-founder & CEO at SketchyMedical. "But we don't think that this method of learning is just reserved for those people. It's really something that really folks from all walks of life are going to be able to benefit from."

Siddiqui says Reach Capital, with its track record of getting young companies in the classroom, will be an ideal partner.

"They've scaled companies before," he said "They have been there. So having them at our side as we go out there into the hands of more students is going to be incredibly important."

Reach Capital was founded in 2015 by Jennifer Carolan who previously spent seven years as a public school history teacher in Illinois. She says she looks for startups that already have established "incredible user love" which she says Sketchy, with its 30,000 users, has already done.

"We were attracted by the rabid fan base," Carolan said. "We look for companies that have been adopted by consumers first and then grow from there."

Carolan sees vast growth potential for Sketchy as it expands to other sectors and tries to disrupt the decades old textbook industry.

"The incumbents in this space are multibillion dollar public companies and those companies have lost between 50 to 90 percent of their equity value over the last five to seven years because they haven't transitioned to digital well," Carolan said.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Culver City-based Maestro, a platform used by pop star Billie Eilish and other entertainers to stream their performances, has landed $15 million in a Series B round.

It was backed by industry heavyweights from Sony Music Entertainment to Twitch's co-founder Kevin Lin, who are eying digital concerts and live streamed shopping as future revenue hot spots.

Read more Show less
Francesca Billington

Francesca Billington is dot.LA's editorial fellow. She's previously reported for KCRW, the Santa Monica Daily Press and local publications in New Jersey. Before joining dot.LA, she served as a communications fellow at an environmental science research center in Sri Lanka. She graduated from Princeton in 2019 with a degree in anthropology.

NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are a novel form of ownership that could rejigger the financial landscape for creators. Even if the market for some of them proves frothy, this blockchain-based technology presents a unique way for artists to make money and engage their fans. With experimentation already underway, the gates are open for them to do what they do best: get creative.

Read more Show less
Sam Blake

Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake