Ever since his undergraduate days at Stanford when he was a TA, Justin Kitch has loved teaching technology. But the idea that technology was something you either had or didn’t have was a notion that bothered him. “Anybody can understand technology if it’s well designed,” he said during an interview at his Menlo Park office
That’s lead the entrepreneur, who founded Homestead in 1998 (sold to Intuit in 2007), to start a company that brings technology and education together to provide lifelong learning. Think of Curious as an educational marketplace where people come to watch short-format, video lessons on their own time taught by teachers who use the site’s tools to market, share and monetize their subject matter knowledge.
Justin, who is CEO of Curious, founded the company in 2012 along with Thai Bui (CTO) and John Tokash (head of engineering). The Curious website was unveiled in late May, debuting with more than 500 interactive lessons. In the way that Homestead provided small businesses an easy, inexpensive way to gain a web presence, Curious allows teachers the ability to showcase their talents.
“What I love about Curious is that I can find lessons on the new and unexpected,” said Justin. “Take Parkour, for example. It’s sort of like Ninja gymnastics, like skateboarding without a skateboard.
“And then there are the lessons by this wildnerness guy who explains how you can survive in the outdoors for three days. He sells a packet of stuff that makes it possible if you get stuck. I love that he’s making a business out of teaching people how to survive.”
Justin is counting on the company growing organically. “We are very conscious about building a product that people would have a natural desire to talk about,” he said. “You want to tell other people that you’re learning new things.
“It’s about education with a lower case “e”. That’s what life is really about.”
Photo by Scott R. Kline