Fiveable acquires Hours to bring virtual study rooms to students

Fiveable has acquired Hours—the #1 virtual studying platform for students.

Today, we are excited to announce that Fiveable has acquired Hours—the #1 virtual studying platform for students—and we're thrilled to welcome Founder Calix Huang to the Fiveable team as the Product Manager for Hours.

Calix is a 16 year old high school student from the Bay Area that launched Hours post-pandemic to increase student productivity at home through virtual study rooms. At Fiveable, we deeply value student leadership and are thrilled for Calix to join the team.

"I absolutely love Fiveable's team dynamic and mission. As a student myself, working with students to build something for students just seems like the most perfect and fun way to grow Hours into a massive platform. Up until this point, it's been a one-man show, and I'm happy to finally have a team dedicated to building Hours!" - Calix Huang, Founder of Hours

In the coming weeks, Calix will post more about his journey, why he is excited to partner with Fiveable, and what it's like to experience an acquisition at 16 years old.

But first, we want to officially introduce the Hours platform to the Fiveable community so that students can form AP study groups starting today.

Why team up?

Fiveable and Hours have a shared belief that studying together is better than studying alone because group dynamics increase accountability and motivation.

We're excited to build the future of social learning at Fiveable, in collaboration with Calix and his team. And he's excited to join us!

Why social learning is the future of education

Students around the world are often learning the same thing at the same time. They might be taking the same exams, preparing for shared deadlines, or studying the same curriculums.

But there's no easy way for them to find and help each other. Edtech tools of the last two decades focused heavily on 1:1 tutoring and single-player content. These tools miss the opportunity to create community-focused experiences and mostly benefit students with resources.

The next wave of edtech will be community-driven with learning groups and multi-player experiences.

This is how we democratize access to education, by creating decentralized spaces for students to work directly with each other.

Imagine the possibilities. 🧠

One teacher in Indiana might have crafted the best way to understand important concepts in calculus. Her students can then share that strategy with others, which scales the impact that one teacher can have and derisks a student's geography and background.

No matter where they go to school, what teacher they have, or the experiences of their parents, every student can access the best content, strategies, and support by connecting with other students.

Fiveable has built the audience and the content for the future of social learning, Hours brings the engagement tool. Together, we can solve systemic inequity in education.

Hours also solves for two more problems that students experience

Because Calix is a high school student himself, he deeply understands the problems students face. In the aftermath of COVID, Calix identified two problems that he could solve for his peers, both of which he was experiencing himself. He's been coding for around 2 years and built an impressive tool for his friends.

1️⃣  Students experience a tremendous amount of stress to finish all of their work

The acceptance rates for college admissions have plummeted, which forces students to take on more APs, extracurriculars, volunteering opportunities, and part-time jobs. And this is before we consider the toll post-COVID parent unemployment has had on teenagers who have to support siblings or take on extra work.

Social learning can unburden the stress because it helps students prioritize tasks, focus their time, and, most importantly—the group can hold each other accountable.

The most stressful experience is to have a huge to do list and not know where to start or if you even have time to finish. With Hours, you can set your task list, which is viewable to the group, collaborate with other students who are managing the same stress, and set timers to study using Pomodoro techniques.

2️⃣  Student productivity is at an all-time low

Despite having more work to do, it's harder than ever to stay focused! The algorithms of big tech constantly pull students in and the distractions are not the fault of teenagers. They live in a world with never-ending notifications, fomo, and peer pressure to keep up.

Hours was built in response to the "study with me" trend that was started by students to help each other stay focused. We see this play out everyday in the Fiveable Discord server as hundreds of students join Pomodoro voice chats. They will set timers to work in deep focus for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break together, and repeat this for hours.

The mission of Hours is to provide a universal tool to help students 10x their productivity and we're excited for these Pomodoro sessions to have a home built specifically for that.

Fiveable + Hours = 🤩

Hundreds of thousands of high school students are studying with Fiveable right now for the 2021 AP exams. They are reading study guides, watching past replays of live lectures, reviewing slide decks, and attending our upcoming 5-hour live streams to cram together in the final stretch before the exam.

We attract the audience of students who are studying the same thing at the same time. Hours will help them connect with each other in small groups.

Eventually, we'll build out discoverability to find ongoing groups, introduce new widgets to bring in content, mini-games, or improve the study experience, and continue to gamify studying through features like streaks. Students led by Calix will drive this product roadmap.

We have perfected the playbook for engaging students during AP exams and are now working to apply that same playbook to college admissions support, other standardized exams, academic skill building, and career exploration. Students in any of these future programs beyond AP will use Hours for small study groups, accountability teams, and more.

With Calix leading the product strategy of Hours, we believe this will become THE go to place for virtual studying because it's built by students, for students. The magic of Fiveable has always been the collaboration with our 100+ paid student interns and this acquisition is a culmination of our trust and respect of young people.

Over the coming weeks, Calix will publish more about his story and we're so excited for you to hear it.

In the mean time, check out Hours to study for APs.