Buildspace raises $10M led by a16z to build Hogwarts for builders and dreamers.
Nov 11, 2022
Yo! What’s up everyone — Farza here.
As you can tell by the headline, we’re up to some crazy shit as usual lol.
I’ll be honest, it’s pretty wild to get to this point.
I started this company in December 2019 doing something completely different. Originally, it was called “ZipHomeschool” where I was building software to help parents homeschool their kids.
To start the company, I raised $25,000 from Furqan.
It took a lot of people to get to this point. But, let me be real — without Furqan, none of this would have even started. He believed in me back when I barely believed in myself.
After all, it just takes one person to believe you can do it.
It’s been a fkin journey but nearly 3-years, 10 pivots and many highs and lows later, here we are.
Buildspace has become extremely prolific — 10,000s have built in public, 1000s have attended our IRL initiatives, some have started multi-million $ agencies, found co-founders, and even gotten funded for their own startups.
So, what’s new?
We’re profitable off of our sponsorship model.
We continue to be 100% free for users + globally accessible to all.
We’ve had over 125,000 users build with us. A majority of the founders and developers in web3 today got their start at buildspace.
We’re expanding to other domains that will need an influx of really talented builders — starting with ML/AI.
We’re building out a few IRL hubs around the world our alumni can build from — with the first one opening in SF on March 1st, 2023. We plan to expand to different parts of the world so no matter what visa or passport you hold, you’ll be able to build from one of our hubs.
Instead of feeding you fake visionary bullshit on the raise announcement -- let me just tell you wtf we’re building.
We're building a school for people that don't want to just “get a job”.
It’s a place where you can figure out what you’re passionate about, create something you love working on, and then learn how to turn that creation into a financially sustainable path you can pursue full-time.
Ex.: Maybe you want to
get into web3, learn to become a smart contract pro, and market + launch your own protocol for a web3 social network.
get into ML, learn to work with Stable Diffusion w/ iOS, and get to $10,000 in MRR for yourself by building a useful photo editing app.
get into biology, learn to run experiments related to biohacking, and become a full-time biology researcher funded by public government grants.
get into game development, learn to ship your own games on Unity, and take the steps needed to raise a small round + start your own game studio.
Some are startups. Some are lifestyle businesses. Some aren’t even businesses.
But, all of them have a clear end result: people working full-time on their creations sustainably — that means teaching you to figure out how to make money, raise money, get government grants, whatever needed.
This is the alternate life path.
Okay but c'mon, let me give you a little of that visionary bullshit for a second. After all, it’s the vision behind buildspace that excites me and keeps me going.
Today, there’s one traditional path that most people follow — get a degree, get a job, and then keep climbing the career ladder.
For some people, this path is fantastic.
For other people, they’re left stuck wishing they could have gone down some other path. We’re creating the alternate life path for those people.
The ones that dream of doing something more but never really knew how to go after it.
We call the people who want to take this alternative life path “builders”.
Mr. Beast, Billie Eilish, Elon Musk, Christopher Nolan, Nikola Tesla, that person grinding on their project on the nights & weekends after work.
All of them are builders.
The people that built the things you love — your favorite anime, your favorite game, your favorite laptop — they were all built by people no smarter than you.
And guess what? You too can create something.
It’ll be difficult. There will be many hard times. Obsession will wear you down. But, we’re going to make the path a little easier for you. And all that effort you put in, it’ll serve you in due time.
We got new verticals.
Whenever I think of a real-world parallel to what we’re creating, I can’t come up with anything. But, in the fictional world — it reminds me of Hogwarts.
Hogwarts is where you go to become a great fucking wizard. You're going there and make potions, practice new spells, get inspiration from master professors, hunt down Voldemort and shit.
And while you’re doing that, you have an awesome community to support you. It’s awesome.
Hogwarts is where you go to become a great fucking wizard.
Buildspace is where you go to be a fantastic builder.
But, we know that you don’t become a general “wizard” at Hogwarts — most end up picking an area to focus on. And the same goes for builders, most end up focusing on a specific domain.
Today, we’re releasing support for the closest thing to magic — ML/AI.
If you’ve followed us for a while, you’ll know that we’ve focused purely on web3 for over a year and a half. Focus is everything at a company of our size. No point in expanding to 69 new domains if the core experience is trash.
That’s why we’re going to expand into new domains slowly and give each domain the love and care it deserves.
Overtime, we want to offer builders support for domains where some truly insane work is happening. Obvious areas like web3, ML/AI, no-code, and robotics but also unique, obscure things like EDM production, bio-hacking, and game design.
The end goal with adding new domains is to create the alternative life paths for builders of all types.
After all — more people would pursue dreams of becoming musicians, fiction writers, indie hackers, game developers, private researchers, etc if the paths to go after these beautiful dreams actually existed.
It’s time to ship. And, you can start this weekend.
Weekend builds are the heart and soul of buildspace. And you can start now.
They’re how we got started in August 2021 and have brought over 125,000 builders through our doors.
How it works is pretty simple: we create content to show people how to build something, we gather thousands of people who are hungry to build that thing, and then we get them to all start building at the exact same time via a live kick-off show.
Many of our users have built entire careers and even companies on the back of our weekend builds.
You don’t need to go and join a 4-year university or a 6-month bootcamp. You don’t need to join a random cohort-based course for $2000. None of that shit.
You just need to ship, and you can start shipping in a weekend with us.
The $10M raise.
I want to thank everyone who participated in this round. $10m is a lot of fucking money. We’re going to put it to good use and build something really big.
Here are all our fantastic partners:
a16z — Connie Chan + Anne Lee Skates
Founders Inc — Furqan Rydhan and Hubert Thieblot
Weekend Fund — Ryan Hoover + Vedika Jain
Vayner Fund — Gary Vaynerchuk
Kun Gao — co-founder @ Crunchyroll
Kevin Lin — co-founder @ Twitch
Patrick Lee — co-founder @ Rotten Tomatoes
Holly Liu — co-founder @ Kabam
Amjad Masad — co-founder @ Replit
Dave Nemetz — co-founder @ Bleacher Report
Sieva Kozinsky — co-founder @ Enduring
Balaji Srinivasan — former CTO-Coinbase
Dan Sommer and David Berger — co-founders @ Trilogy Edu
Paul and Chris — co-founders @ CopyAI
John Andrew — founder @ Wander
Dunce Capital — John Danner
Melo7 — Carmelo Anthony
MastryVC — Andre Iguodala
Earl Grey Capital
Tobenna Arodiogbu — co-founder @ CloudTrucks
David and Abhishek — co-founders @ BetterBrain
Nicolas Chinot — anime partner
Cat Wu — early employee @ Scale
Jason Hitchcock — ex-growth @ Bebo, GP @ 4 Moons
Nu Dao — founder @ Allies
Ben Levy — co-founder @ Milk Road
Charlie Holtz — co-founder @ ShlinkedIn
Nick Ducoff — co-founder @ Edmit
Sherwin Gandhi — co-founder @ Jeeves
Romain Huet — ex-Head of Dev Rel @ Stripe
Qasim Munye — co-founder @ ShortlyAI
Open Sea Ventures
Samarth Jajoo — our first intern
— Farza, founder @ buildspace