Dabble’s $20 Classes in Beer Brewing, Venture Capital and More in 6 New Cities

August 18, 2011

11:30 am

Dabble, a marketplace for $20, one-session classes, today announced its expansion from Chicago to San Francisco, St. Louis, Austin, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Milwaukee, and Denver.

“They’re great mid- to larger-size cities that have strong culture and seem like good fits for Dabble,” says cofounder Jessica Lybeck.

Would-be teachers in these 6 cities can now submit classes and start signing up students. And they may take inspiration from current Chicago offerings like raising venture capital, caring for a new dog, and beer brewing–which is surprisingly popular, Lybeck says.

Dabble took shape after the cofounders realized that young adults have few opportunities to explore new hobbies after college, as many local classes eat up time and money that is hard to come by. The site eventually launched in beta this May.

Eager to understand the experience, Lybeck and cofounder Erin Hopmann enrolled in a slew of classes: welding, cupcake decorating, and pasta making, among others.

“I’m getting addicted myself, and I get kind of sad when a class I really want to go to sells out,” Lybeck admits. But they learned some tips to share with teachers, like having students introduce themselves and offering handouts. Dabble also helps stumped teachers write better class descriptions and find local venues.

Dabble is similar to the angel-funded Skillshare, whose more sophisticated platform allows users to bookmark interesting classes and follow friends’ activities. The major difference is that all Dabble classes are $20, which could work in its favor, at least for recruiting students. Dabble calls itself “a different kind of night out,” and $20 classes are just that–a whole new experience, for the cost of dinner.

Going forward, Dabble may investigate partnerships with colleges or cultural organizations looking to attract new students. “We see ourselves as a gateway for people to become exposed, and then take the things they love and seek further education,” says Lybeck. Like their students, they plan to keep learning.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.

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