Brilliant (website)

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The logo of Brilliant
Type of site
Online education
Available inEnglish
Founder(s)Sue Khim
Users4 million[1]
Launched2012; 8 years ago (2012)
Current statusActive is a for-profit company and associated community that features problems and courses in mathematics, physics, quantitative finance, and computer science. It operates via a freemium business model.[2]


Brilliant was founded in 2012.[2] At the Launch Festival in March 2013, CEO and co-founder Sue Khim presented the idea of Brilliant, catching the eye of venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya.[2][3] In May 2013, Khim further outlined the vision for Brilliant at TEDx.[4]

In August 2013, TechCrunch reported that had raised money from Palihapitiya's Social+Capital Partnership as well as from 500 Startups, Kapor Capital, Learn Capital, and Hyde Park Angels, and that the website had over 100,000 users.[3] As of July 2017, the website has over 4 million registered users, although the number of paying users is not known.[1][5]


Brilliant has been noted in a number of publications for its success in identifying promising young mathematicians and scientists around the world, many of whom would not have been identified or given a chance to develop to their full potential otherwise.[6] Commonly cited examples include Farrell Wu from the Philippines,[3][6] Dylan Toh of Singapore,[6][7] and Phoebe Cai of the United States.[6][7]

Brilliant regularly contributes math and science puzzles to publications such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and FiveThirtyEight.[8][9][10][1][11] Brilliant has also been cited by The Atlantic as a catalyst of the "math revolution" - a surge in the number of American teens excelling at math.[12]

In 2013, Brilliant co-founder and CEO Sue Khim was listed among the Forbes 30 under 30 for the Education category for her work on Brilliant.[13]


Brilliant offers guided problem-solving based courses in math, science, and engineering, based on National Science Foundation research supporting active learning.[14]

Additionally, Brilliant publishes challenging problems in math and science each week from problems written by members of their community.[3] Brilliant also maintains an interactive, community-written math and science wiki. In 2016, The Atlantic reported that “some of the most recognizable companies in the tech industry regularly prospect” on Brilliant.[12]


  1. ^ a b c Bellos, Alex. "Can you solve it? Pi Day puzzles that will leave you pie-eyed". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Kurwa, Nishat (July 23, 2013). "Giving Brightest Kids The 'Cram School' Experience, Online". NPR. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d Rao, Leena (August 11, 2013). "Backed By Social+Capital, Is Finding And Challenging The Brightest, Technical Talent In The World". TechCrunch. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  4. ^ "Scouting for Intellect: Sue Khim at TEDxUChicago 2013". YouTube. TedX. June 4, 2013. Retrieved July 15, 2017.
  5. ^ "". Facebook. July 27, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d Carlson, Nicholas (April 30, 2013). "The 10 Smartest Kids In The World (And The Crazy Math Problems They Can Solve)". Business Insider. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  7. ^ a b Antoniades, Andri (May 7, 2013). "How to Graduate From a Failing School System and Still Be Brilliant. A 26-year-old entrepreneur ensures gifted students worldwide receive the kind of education they need". TakePart. Archived from the original on 2015-04-05. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  8. ^ Antonick, Gary (December 21, 2015). "Reason to Celebrate with Puzzles from and Iwahiro". The New York Times. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  9. ^ Antonick, Gary (March 14, 2016). "Reasonable-Seeming but WRONG Approximations of π". The New York Times. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  10. ^ Puglise, Nicole. "From The Dress to the 'extinction effect': the internet obsession with brain teasers". The Guardian. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  11. ^ Roeder, Oliver (October 28, 2016). "Rig The Election ... With Math!". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  12. ^ a b Tyre, Peg (March 2016). "The Math Revolution". The Atlantic. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  13. ^ "30 Under 30: Education". Forbes. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  14. ^ "Enough with the lecturing". National Science Foundation. May 12, 2014. Retrieved August 7, 2017.

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