You’re still having trouble understanding why individuals would want to watch others play video games online, do you? Another one that might make you think a little differently is watching other people study online.

There is a large online community dedicated to studying and how to (hopefully) study better, one that is filled with Discords, subreddits, and ridiculously chill music , though it’s easy to miss if you’ve been out of school for a while.

The “Study With Me” stream is one component of this; as the name implies, it is a livestream of someone studying that is intended to be kind of-sort of viewed while the viewer learns as well. There might be some music and/or rain sounds… However, the presenter won’t spend much time chatting or making an effort to amuse. After all, that would kind of defeat the point. You don’t really think anyone would watch that? With hundreds of thousands of subscribers , there are specific YouTube channels, and with millions of views. , there are recorded, hour-long study streams.

The idea of livestream studying has been around for a while, but the pandemic is mostly responsible for its recent surge in popularity. When the library is closed and we’re not supposed to be huddled together in stifling quarters, how do you do study groups?

All of these concepts are being combined by the Y Combinator Summer 2021 team StudyStream to create a platform that will allow students to collaborate on projects, exchange study advice, and more. They provide 24/7 Zoom “focus rooms” where students are expected to switch on their cameras, put on their headphones, and open their books alongside up to 1000 other students. They also provide a Discord community for students who wish to interact after the fact or who want to live-study in smaller groups.

The team, which was just just launched, is enjoying strong traction. Upwards of four million users have joined the site, according to co-founder Sarujan Ranjan, and its Discord community recently surpassed 400,000 users. They have six parallel study streams that have thousands of users online every time I’ve checked in the last three weeks. They also do early-morning onboarding livestream every weekday when they explain how focus rooms operate and teach individuals the protocol, such as why there is silence.

The 1000-person streams aren’t intended for conversation; again, chatter would kind of contradict the point, similar to how talking in a library would probably get you shushed. The in-Zoom chat feature is disabled, and everyone’s microphone is blocked.

People naturally find means of expression. Others hold up handwritten notes to introduce themselves while some users update their Zoom display names to match their social media accounts. Waving with Zoom’s built-in hand raise capability is a cute gimmick that some individuals seem to employ to say hello and, if they so choose, to move up into the first few pages of on-screen streamers.

(Of course, there will be ways for people to troll; all you need is a webcam, an audience, and a modicum of anonymity. StudyStream has live moderators in each of the streams as a result, and there are several ways to report anyone being rude.)

Initially, Ranjan and his colleagues had no plans to create a platform for streaming academic content. They established the Knowledge Collective in 2018 as an educational platform where they would hold leadership development courses. However, they discovered that most of the students they spoke with weren’t searching for another place to find movies or books to read.

They had no issues with the material. Feeling unmotivated was what was truly bothering them. Or ineffective or lonely. They would claim, “I can understand the topic, but I just can’t bring myself to read it.”

As a result, they began experimenting with study focus rooms. After a few well-known study TikTokers and study influencers ( they exist! ) joined the site and pumped it up, the concept soon gained traction. They recognized it was time to focus on StudyStream as more and more people persisted and used it as a tool to establish community in a really solitary time.

No student should ever have to study alone again, no matter where they may be in the world, argues Ranjan.

How will StudyStream make money since all of its focus rooms are presently free to join? That is still being worked on. Ranjan informs me that they have experimented with premium rooms and have many other concepts in the works, but for the time being, they are concentrating on expanding the platform and satisfying people. They are now in a limited beta of their extended web app, which will provide things like shared task lists, an overview of how long/often you’ve studied, and additional ways to engage with other students on the site. This is one component of expanding the experience outside of the focus rooms.


StudyStream was a member of YC’s most recent class, but they chose not to participate in Demo Day since, well, they had already secured the necessary funding for the time being. YC, Brighteye Ventures, Emerge Education, Dunce Capital, Ali Abdaal (a well-known YouTuber who focuses on productivity and study techniques), Manchester City footballer Ilkay Gundogan, and other unnamed angel investors supported the team in a $2.1 million SAFE round prior to Demo Day, according to Ranjan.

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