School startup lures execs from Google, Uber, Zynga

What does it take to pull someone away from a job helping to run the world’s most popular search engine?

For longtime Googler and father of three Bharat Mediratta, it was a chance to rewrite the rules of K-8 education in what he describes as an “amazing thing to do for humanity and a super-compelling business.”

San Francisco-based education startup AltSchool is announcing Wednesday that Mediratta will be leaving a decade-long Google career this month to become the private school network’s chief technology officer.

Also joining the school as head of security is Uber’s Mike Ginty, who until recently was handling the ride-hailing service’s unending security problems, from driver protests to credit card fraud attempts and rider-driver conflicts. Parenthood propelled his interest in the new role, he said.

“I wasn’t looking for a new position, I was looking for a school for my son,” said Ginty, who also previously worked for Apple and the U.S. Air Force.

Sue Yoon, a former Rocket Fuel finance executive, and Rajiv Bhatia, a former Zynga product executive, are also joining the team. None of their salaries have been disclosed.

Since collecting millions in venture capital last year, AltSchool CEO Max Ventilla, himself a former Googler, has been expanding the school network and its associated online platform that uses “playlists” of schoolwork and other technological tools designed to cut back on administrative costs and emphasize individualized learning. The network now operates several tiny schools in San Francisco and will be expanding to Palo Alto and Brooklyn later this year.

Above: A girl looks through an art project at the AltSchool. (photo courtesy of AltSchool)


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