Our clients across the country are demonstrating remarkable resilience, innovation and creativity in this unusual year when COVID-19 has impacted all of our lives and businesses. Bridge Bank has put together some of these incredible stories that reinforce how businesses can rise to new heights even amid exceptional challenges. We are inspired and we hope you will be, too.

Who wouldn’t want to spend 10 minutes getting inspired by RuPaul, learning all about gardening from Ron Finley, learning negotiation tips from Chris Voss, cooking with Wolfgang Puck, or creativity and leadership from Anna Wintour? That’s the brilliant premise of MasterClass – a five-year-old, member-based, streaming platform where anyone can learn from the best.

When the world began “sheltering in place” in spring 2020, MasterClass knew it had the opportunity to deliver more at-home inspiration to more people. Already tailor-made for life at home during the pandemic, MasterClass added new instructors with classes reflecting the interests and concerns of people who were suddenly spending much more time at home.

“We understood people were looking for new ways to find inspiration, feed their curiosity and pursue growth,” said Beth Swierk, director of communications at MasterClass, a Bridge Bank client based in San Francisco. “So we shifted our strategy to provide more people with more access.”

The company launched MasterClass Live, a virtual video Q&A series that connected members and non-members with MasterClass instructors via video live-stream made available at no cost. The concept also introduced a “back to school” promotion for college students that unlocked all content on the platform for one year for just $1 – a major savings compared to the $180 annual membership fee.

MasterClass Chief Executive Officer David Rogier sent an email to all members in March with an especially thoughtful offer: “As a small thank-you for being a member, we want to give you a free MasterClass All-Access Pass to give to someone whose life you’d like to make just a little better right now. They could be a confined relative, a neighbor, a local volunteer, or a person you’ve been relying on.”

“Our founding mission is to democratize access to the world’s greatest minds and unlock human potential by inspiring a learning lifestyle in everyone. Everyone means everyone,” added Swierk.

The company also started a pilot program with the California Department of Corrections and at Rikers Island in New York City, giving nearly 100,000 inmates free access to the platform. MasterClass also pledged to donate an additional 200,000 memberships in 2020 through their Grants program.

Overall, MasterClass has seen a surge of demand with its online classes in 2020. Since stay-at-home orders were first issued, the company has reported weeks when it generated 10 times the revenue as the same period in 2019. Member engagement is also up: People are watching twice the total minutes on a monthly basis.

To learn more about the tailored solutions and exceptional service Bridge Bank provides, contact one of our experienced bankers at (408) 423-8500.

About Us

Bridge Bank, a division of Western Alliance Bank, Member FDIC, helps business clients realize their ambitions. Founded in 2001 in Silicon Valley, Bridge Bank offers a better way to bank for small-market and middle-market businesses across many industries, as well as emerging technology companies and the private equity community. Geared to serving both venture-backed and non-venture-backed companies, Bridge Bank delivers a broad scope of financial solutions including capital, equipment and working capital credit facilities, venture debt, treasury management, asset-based lending, SBA and commercial real estate loans, ESOP finance and a full line of international products and services. Based in San Jose, Bridge Bank has 16 offices in major markets across the country along with Western Alliance Bank’s powerful array of specialized financial services. Western Alliance Bank is the primary subsidiary of Phoenix-based Western Alliance Bancorporation. One of the country’s top-performing banking companies, Western Alliance has ranked in the top 10 on the Forbes “Best Banks in America” list for five consecutive years, 2016-2020, and was named #1 best-performing of the 50 largest public U.S. banks for 2019 by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

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