Skip Navigation
Menu OpenMenu
Content Scroll
Scroll Icon

Injuries pushed this dancer from the stage to his startup; ClassKid keeps his craft in the spotlight

TOPEKA — A career as a professional dancer only momentarily upstaged Austin Roberson’s childhood ambitions to become an inventor, the Kansas startup founder said.

Roberson — the entrepreneur behind ClassKid, an end-to-end operating system for dance studios and other organizations — was tapped to play Danny in a children’s performance of Grease when he was about 10 years old and said he “just fell in love” with the arts. He continued dancing through high school and decided to bypass college to focus on his craft. 

The aspiring performer’s dance career, however, was cut short by back pain and surgery in his twenties — sending Roberson into a second act that would see him revisit memories of chatting with his dad over the kitchen countertop about inventions he’d bring to market one day. 

Ultimately, ClassKid took center stage.

In October, the Topeka-based startup closed a deal with a private equity firm. Though Roberson couldn’t disclose the terms, he said the support came at a pivotal moment, as he was facing burn out from the dance-infused tech venture.

“It was my father-in-law who said, ‘I think I heard a saying one time: Once you get to the end of your rope, you’re just supposed to let go.’ And it seems like the less I tried to control everything, the more people surrounded me and supported me.”

Now, he’s refreshed and ready to tackle new markets. After exiting beta mode, Roberson said, he plans to onboard anyone currently on the waitlist before entering a new niche of music schools. Next year, he plans to expand the platform internationally.

“I feel like we’re in a really good position to just go for it,” he said. “I’m glad I made it. But, you know, it’s not for the faint of heart.”


Read the full story here!