MasterClass reveals first two Canadian hub hires, plans to add dozens more


San Francisco-based edtech startup MasterClass has announced the first two hires for its planned Kitchener-Waterloo hub, disclosing plans to hire “dozens” of engineers.

MasterClass has hired Matt Elgie, who previously worked for Barracuda FX, Broadway Technology and Sandvine, and James Spere, formerly of ProNavigator, Roadmunk and D2L. The pair has been tasked with growing and leading MasterClass’s engineering, product and technical teams in Canada.

MasterClass told BetaKit that “to start,” the company plans to hire dozens of engineers in Canada.

The hires come less than a month after BetaKit first reported MasterClass’s plans to open a new engineering hub in Kitchener-Waterloo, as the United States (US) startup looks to tap into the Waterloo Region’s engineering, product, design and data talent pool.

“As MasterClass has been experiencing rapid growth, we are scaling our platform, technology and products to meet the needs of our global consumer and enterprise user base,” said Paul Bankhead, chief product officer at MasterClass.

“I’ve had great experiences working with Waterloo-based technical teams and am excited to partner with Canada’s thriving and collaborative tech community to support this expansion,” Bankhead added.

Founded in 2015, MasterClass is an edtech platform that provides on-demand, celebrity-fuelled online learning content; the startup connects users to classes “taught by famous masters of their field,” enabling them to learn how to play tennis with Serena Williams or cook with Gordon Ramsey.

A MasterClass spokesperson told BetaKit that “to start,” the company intends to hire dozens of engineers in Canada across the full development stack, including web, mobile, native, back-end, and infrastructure. It also plans to add product managers, designers, technical program managers, data scientists, and data engineers to support them. On LinkedIn, MasterClass currently has four engineering positions available in Waterloo.

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The new hub is set to become MasterClass’s first office outside the US. “We chose the Kitchener-Waterloo area because of its proximity to the University of Waterloo and to sit alongside the thriving, cooperative community of technology companies at all stages of growth,” a MasterClass spokesperson told BetaKit.

As of May 13, MasterClass said it employed around 380 people. The startup aims to grow its overall team to 500 by the end of the year.

According to MasterClass, the startup’s new Canadian team will focus on building out the company’s enterprise product offering, which it plans to officially launch later this year, as well as on building technical integrations with distribution partners.

MasterClass plans to have its first hires start working remotely this month, and open a physical office “once it is safe to return to in-person work.” Over time, the startup said it hopes to grow its Canadian office “to become a peer engineering headquarters” to its existing headquarters in San Francisco.

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In May, MasterClass raised $225 million USD in Series F funding, led by Fidelity Management & Research Company, at a reported valuation of more than $2.75 billion. The Series F financing follows a $100 million Series E round that MasterClass closed a year ago and brings its total funding to date to more than $475 million.

MasterClass has been aided during the process of its Canadian expansion by Waterloo EDC. Tony LaMantia, Waterloo EDC’s president and CEO, told BetaKit the move was a “community effort” that involved referrals from local partners and introductions to the broader tech ecosystem.

“I am delighted to welcome MasterClass to our community’s growing cluster of leading technology companies with strong global brands,” said LaMantia.

Feature image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Josh Scott

Josh Scott

Josh Scott is a BetaKit reporter focused on telling in-depth Canadian tech stories and breaking news. His coverage is more complete than his moustache.

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