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What is the history of Khan Academy?

Updated

Khan Academy is a not-for-profit educational organization started by Salman Khan in 2008. Our mission is to provide a free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere.

Our online materials cover subjects ranging from math and finance to history and art. With thousands of bite-sized videos, step-by-step problems, and instant progress information, Khan Academy provides a rich and engaging learning experience. You can earn points and badges along the way, and coach others as well.

In addition to creating our online materials, we also translate our materials into the world's most spoken languages and work with schools on innovating how learning is done in the classroomRead more about Khan Academy's goals at (http://www.khanacademy.org/about). 

Who started Khan Academy?

Khan Academy was founded by Salman Khan. Sal was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. His mother was born in Calcutta, India; and his father was born in Barisal, Bangladesh. Sal is a former hedge fund analyst with degrees from MIT and Harvard. 

How was Khan Academy started?

In August 2004, Sal Khan began remotely tutoring his cousin, Nadia, who was struggling with unit conversion. This "Swiss-cheese" gap in her knowledge was not allowing her to be placed in the more advanced math track. Since Nadia was in New Orleans, and Sal was in Boston working at a hedge fund at the time, Sal started tutoring her through the phone and Yahoo Doodle after work.

As Nadia improved in math class, word got around and Sal started tutoring a handful of his cousins and family members. Scheduling became a real issue, and he decided to begin recording videos and posting them on YouTube in 2006 so everyone could watch at their own pace. More and more people started watching, and Sal has been making videos ever since.

The organization was incorporated as a 501c(3) nonprofit in 2008. Sal continued to work on Khan Academy during his spare time until the fall of 2009, when he quit his hedge fund job and decided to pursue the endeavor full-time. He lived off of his savings for the first nine months, until he received his first significant donation from Ann Doerr. In September 2010, Khan Academy received large grants from Google ($2 million) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation ($1.5 million) and began to build out an organization. 

Sal called on Shantanu Sinha from McKinsey & Company to join as President & COO. They were former high school math competitors in New Orleans, freshman year roommates at MIT, and long-time friends. They immediately hired Ben Kamens and Jason Rosoff from Fog Creek Software to lead software development and design. In October 2010, the small team moved into their first office space. 

For more details on the beginnings of Khan Academy, check out Sal's TED Talk.