Calix Huang, a 16-year old entrepreneur based in the Tri-Valley, recently had his education technology company Hours acquired by Fiveable in a six-figure deal.
Founded by CEO Amanda DoAmaral and CXO Tán Ho, Fiveable is a website that offers support in high school Advanced Placement classes such as video lessons, live streams and other test prep resources. Fiveable welcomed Huang to its team as project manager for the studying platform Hours on May 7.
"The best ideas come from the issues that you run into yourself," Huang said in an interview last week.
"I started Hours in October but I got the idea in May of 2020. I actually got it from a teammate I was working with at the time who showed me this productivity technique that’s actually called "Hours" -- so the name comes from that productivity technique that’s not so well known,” Huang said.
The technique that Huang described was one-on-one studying where each person would describe what they wanted to get done in an hour. A timer would be set and once the hour was over, both participants would reflect on their work, what was completed and what was not finished.
Hours has multiplayer study rooms, chats, and other tools including time management for students to use while studying and working side-by-side in a virtual environment.
“The initial reason why I reached out to Fiveable was to partner with them because they have an incredible user acquisition, huge brand, they have incredible development so far and that seemed like a good opportunity to reach out," Huang said.
"When I actually was able to get on a call with Amanda, she’s very understanding of all students and she knew that I was a student," he said. "It wasn’t so much pitching Hours itself, but it was more about telling the story of how it kind of got started, where it is right now, what kind of impact we would make."
After speaking with DoAmaral about the acquisition of Hours, one of the topics that she and Huang wanted to grow was accessibility for high school students to grow and connect with each other.
The goal in the collaboration between Fiveable and Hours is primarily to connect students with each other -- for students to identify with one another and work and support each other. High-schoolers have the opportunity to work directly with one another, and in a pandemic, virtual connections make all the difference.
In an announcement on Fiveable about the acquisition, DoAmaral stated that "with Calix leading the product strategy of Hours, we believe this will become the go to place for virtual studying because it’s built by students, for students."
For Huang individually, he is optimistic for the future and is currently looking into different industries. His motivation with Hours is that it helps people, and as an "engineer by trade," he plans to create projects and continue his outreach.
“I’m (currently) working with Fiveable as project manager -- working with Hours makes complete sense there and I’ve been able to take a lot of time nowadays to expand my horizons," Huang said.
"Now I’m exploring new industries, with the help of Amanda I’m getting into Venture capital, and doing a lot of networking. I’m in a fellowship for On Deck, really entrepreneurial people under the age of 25, (and I) get to network with them, meet them and get to learn about them. The other things that I’m looking into doing are still super undecided,” he added.