Eric Westendorf, the company’s CEO and a former principal, conceived of Coursello after he left LearnZillion, the digital curriculum company he co-founded while principal in 2011.
When the pandemic struck, Eric saw how much his three children - a high-schooler, middle-schooler, and elementary-schooler - struggled with online learning. He also saw the advantages - the way Zoom connected his children with teachers who were sometimes in different cities, how it enabled flexibility. What if we keep those advantages while addressing the engagement problem?, he wondered. What if there was a company that provided online courses designed for active learning and peer-to-peer discussion from the start?
Soon after, co-founders Chris White and Jamie Forrest were on board to help Eric make Coursello a reality. Like Eric, both Chris and Jamie were fathers who saw the inadequacy of online learning when their own students’ were suddenly learning from home.
Eric, Chris, and Jamie began talking about courses designed for online engagement; about ways software might support small group discussions; and about building a company designed for inclusion and rooted in the conviction that product companies are empathy companies, companies that understand the progress their users are trying to make in the world.
Together, Eric, Chris, and Jamie developed Coursello’s mission and core values.