Doug Dohring

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Doug Dohring is the founder and CEO of Age of Learning, Inc., the edtech company that created and runs ABCmouse.com Early Learning Academy, ReadingIQ, and Adventure Academy.[1][2][3] He is also the founder and former CEO of Neopets, Inc.

The Dohring Company[edit]

Dohring founded market research firm The Dohring Company in 1986, where he served as Chairman and CEO.[4] Customers for the company's market research services included retail chains including Baskin-Robbins and House of Fabrics, and entertainment firms including Capitol Records, as well as automotive, financial services, and health care companies.[5] Automotive surveys comprised up to 80% of the firm's business in 1995. At that time, the company was ranked 55th on the Advertising Age list of the nation's largest market research firms. It was 92nd on the Los Angeles Business Journal 's 1995 list of fastest growing private companies in Los Angeles County.[6]

Neopets[edit]

Dohring founded Neopets, Inc. after being introduced to the Neopets.com site by a mutual friend upon its December, 1999 launch by two British college students, Adam Powell and Donna Williams. According to BusinessWeek, Dohring bought the site immediately thereafter, with the goal of making it “a safe haven for kids.”[7] In April, 2000, he brought in his first advertising partners for a concept that he trademarked as immersive advertising.[8][9]

According to a Harvard Business School case study, Neopets, Inc. had reached profitability four months after launching operations, "largely due to the fact that it spends nothing for customer acquisition, relying strictly on word-of-mouth," and as of July 2001, the site was ranked #4 in "stickiness".[10]

Two years after its creation, in December 2001, Neopets had attracted more than 20 million accounts, more than 80% of them under the age of 17. While the " tech bubble" was bursting and large percentages of new websites were folding, Neopets was signing up 50,000 new accounts per day, with members spending an average of four hours or more per month on the site. CNET cited Neopets as “one of the top three gaming sites on the Web, according to Jupiter Media Metrix”.[11]

Advertising Age listed Dohring and Neopets in their 2001 “Roster of Marketing 100s”, noting that in July 2001 the site was ranked the “stickiest” at-home web site by Nielsen/Net Ratings.[12]

Dohring sold the Neopets site to Viacom's MTV Network in June 2005 for $160 million.[13] At the time, approximately 140 million Neopets had been created, and Neopets ranked among the top 10 stickiest Web sites, with advertising making up about 60% of the company's revenues and a line of plush toys sold through Target Corporation and other stores.[14][15]

Age of Learning, Inc. and ABCmouse.com[edit]

After the sale of Neopets to Viacom in 2005, Dohring founded Age of Learning, Inc., in 2007, and launched the ABCmouse.com Early Learning Academy, website in 2010. The Wall Street Journal reported that ABCmouse was “designed to teach basic reading, math, science and other subjects to children between the ages of two and six.”[16] At Age of Learning, Dohring assembled an education advisory board that collaborates on the design of the ABCmouse curriculum and includes Kimberly Oliver Burnim, National Teacher of the Year in 2006,[17] and Kevin O’Donnell, creator of PBS series, “Liberty’s Kids”.[18] Unlike Neopets, which relied on advertising, ABCmouse.com charges a subscription of $9.95 per month or $79.95 per year, and is free to individual teachers, libraries, Head Start programs, and other community organizations.[19] Research has shown ABCmouse “helped to accelerate students’ learning gains in literacy and mathematics skills on multiple assessments.”[20]

In 2016, Age of Learning launched ABCmouse for Schools, a solution aimed at school districts and groups rather than families or individual teachers. ABCmouse for Schools includes student management, professional development, curriculum alignment, and progress reporting tools in addition to the core ABCmouse curriculum.[21][22]

Age of Learning, a privately held company, was reported to have reached a $1 billion valuation based on $150 million in funding from Iconiq Capital in May 2016.[23][24]

In January 2017, Age of Learning expanded the ABCmouse curriculum through 2nd grade.[25]

In November 2018, the company launched a digital library and literacy platform, called ReadingIQ, which offers thousands of books for children ages 2 through 12. ReadingIQ is available to families at a monthly or annual fee and is free for teachers.[26][27]

Age of Learning launched another online learning platform called Adventure Academy in May of 2019.[3] Adventure Academy is an educational MMO for elementary and middle school children.[28][29]

Other business ventures[edit]

Dohring was also a principal shareholder in Speedyclick.com circa 1999-2001, which according to a December 2005 Wired Magazine article, "he later sold for $50 million."[7] The $50 million deal included $3 million in cash and $47 million in ShopNow stock,[30] (later renamed as "Network Commerce",[31] and deemed worthless in 2001).[31]

Personal life[edit]

A California native, Dohring is the youngest son of a car dealer and a homemaker. He and his wife Laurie, both Scientologists, have been married since 1979. They have five children including two sets of identical twins and actor Jason Dohring, best known for his roles in the series Veronica Mars and Moonlight.[6][7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "ABCmouse.com Will Teach Your 2-to-6-Year-Old Their ABCs (And 'Thank You' & 'Please!')". Hollywood Life. November 16, 2010.
  2. ^ "ABCmouse Launches New Reading App" Tech & Learning. Retrieved 2019-07-12.
  3. ^ a b "Adventure Academy Is An Educational MMO Teachers And Students Will Love" GameInformer. Retrieved 2019-07-12.
  4. ^ "Company Overview of The Dohring Company, Inc." Bloomberg. Retrieved 2019-07-12.
  5. ^ "THE DOHRING COMPANY INC | Company Profile from Hoovers". Hoovers.com. Hoovers - A D&B Company.
  6. ^ a b Black box approach to market research - The Dohring Co Archived 2007-10-16 at the Wayback Machine, Los Angeles Business Journal, Dec. 25, 1995
  7. ^ a b c The Neopets Addiction, WIRED, December 2005
  8. ^ Weingarten, Marc (February 21, 2002). "As Children Adopt Pets, A Game Adopts Them". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  9. ^ Hoechsmann, Michael. Media Literacies: A Critical Introduction. Wiley.
  10. ^ "NeoPets, Inc." Harvard Business School. Retrieved 2019-07-12.
  11. ^ Who let the NeoPets out? | CNET News.com
  12. ^ Advertising Age
  13. ^ Flint, Joe (June 20, 2005). "Viacom to Acquire Web Company Neopets". Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  14. ^ "Viacom's MTV buys Neopets for $160m". The Boston Globe. June 21, 2005.
  15. ^ (June 20, 2005) "Viacom to Acquire Web Company Neopets" The Wall Street Journal.
  16. ^ "From Neopets to Teachers' Pets". The Wall Street Journal. November 15, 2010.
  17. ^ "Kimberly Oliver Burnim". Huffington Post.
  18. ^ "Liberty's Kids". IMDB.com. Amazon.com. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  19. ^ "From Mouse to Unicorn: Age of Learning Raises $150M at $1B Valuation, Eyes Expansion Into Schools" EdSurge. Retrieved 2019-07-19.
  20. ^ "Improving Outcomes for At-Risk Prekindergarten and Kindergarten Students with a Digital Learning Resource" Journal of Applied Research on Children. Retrieved 2019-07-19.
  21. ^ "ABCmouse launches school-centered platform for K-2". eSchool News. 2016-07-11. Retrieved 2017-01-12.
  22. ^ "Age of Learning Debuts Elementary School Resources -- THE Journal". THE Journal. Retrieved 2017-01-12.
  23. ^ Lunden, Ingrid. "Age of Learning, a quiet giant in education apps, raised $150M at a $1B valuation from Iconiq". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-01-12.
  24. ^ "From Mouse to Unicorn: Age of Learning Raises $150M at $1B Valuation, Eyes Expansion Into Schools (EdSurge News)". EdSurge. Retrieved 2017-01-12.
  25. ^ "ABCmouse.com Early Learning Academy Adds 2nd Grade Curriculum, Expanding the Leading Educational Resource for 3rd-Grade Readiness". Retrieved 2017-01-12.
  26. ^ "Age of Learning launches digital library for under-12s" Kidscreen. Retrieved 2019-07-12.
  27. ^ "ABCmouse Launches New Reading App" Tech & Learning. Retrieved 2019-07-12.
  28. ^ "Adventure Academy Enrolls Children Into Learning Fun" MMO RPG. Retrieved 2019-07-12.
  29. ^ "Adventure Academy is an ‘educational massively multiplayer online game’ launching May 1" Massively Overpowered. Retrieved 2019-07-12.
  30. ^ "ShopNow buys SpeedyClick for $50M". Puget Sound Business Journal. American City Business Journals. 1999-11-11. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  31. ^ a b Broberg, Brad (September 30, 2001). "Companies claim there's life after delisting".

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