Doug Dohring founded Age of Learning, Inc., in 2007, led the company as CEO until 2019, and now serves as Executive Chairman of Age of Learning and Chairman of the Age of Learning Foundation. His goal for the company was to develop a comprehensive and engaging expert-designed digital curriculum to help young children develop a love of learning and build a strong foundation for future academic success.
In 2007, Doug assembled a team of notable early learning and curriculum experts—including a National Teacher of the Year award winner and a National Teachers Hall of Fame inductee—to join his trusted management team from his previous company, NeoPets, Inc. He then added engineers, designers, illustrators, voice-over artists, and other talented professionals to work on making this dream a reality. After nearly four years of development and testing with more than 10,000 families, ABCmouse.com Early Learning Academy was launched to the public on November 16, 2010.
ABCmouse was an immediate success, earning many top awards in its first year, including the Editor’s Choice Award from the Children’s Technology Review and the Parents’ Choice Gold Award, and quickly becoming the leading and most comprehensive digital learning resource for young children.
Doug is also committed to reaching children across the U.S. regardless of their financial resources. To reach at-risk children and families who may not otherwise have access to high-quality learning content at home, Doug had Age of Learning establish several Education Access Initiatives to offer the full, award-winning ABCmouse.com Early Learning Academy curriculum at no cost to teachers and community institutions such as libraries, Head Start programs, public housing authorities, and afterschool programs.
Under Doug’s leadership, Age of Learning has since expanded the ABCmouse curriculum through the 2nd grade with more than 10,000 Learning Activities in total, and expanded the reach of ABCmouse and ABCmouse for Schools beyond the U.S. to international markets, beginning with China.
The company also launched the ReadingIQ digital library and literacy platform in November 2018 with the purpose of helping children grow their reading skills by providing the best of children’s literature, including Caldecott and Newbery award winners. In May 2019, it unveiled Adventure Academy, the first AAA educational massively multiplayer online game for elementary and middle school aged students.
Doug has guided Age of Learning through rounds of funding necessary to grow the private company and realize the full scope of its mission. As reported in May 2016 by TechCrunch, EdSurge, and The Los Angeles Times, Age of Learning recently raised $150 million from Iconiq Capital.
Doug Dohring at NeoPets
Prior to Age of Learning, Doug Dohring was Chairman and CEO of NeoPets, Inc., a company he founded in February 2000. Under his leadership, Neopets.com grew to become one of the world’s most popular websites for children. With more than 140 million registered users and 8 billion monthly page views, Neopets.com was one of the top 10 “stickiest” websites in the U.S. by 2005.
In 2001, Doug was named one of the Top 100 Marketers of the Year by Advertising Age magazine. A Harvard Business School case study of Doug Dohring and NeoPets was published in 2002 examining the company’s growth strategy, international expansion, and the high engagement of its user base.
Doug’s experience leading NeoPets as one of the world’s most popular online communities for kids led him to the insight that it might be possible to create an online experience that was both highly engaging and educational. He realized that a world-class early learning curriculum designed by a team of Ph.D.’s, teachers, and learning experts could be combined with games and activities in a fun online world that would help children develop critical learning skills and a lasting love of learning.
After seeing this was possible, Doug decided to sell NeoPets and start Age of Learning. He led NeoPets through its successful $160 million sale to Viacom, Inc., in June 2005. The Wall Street Journal wrote about Doug Dohring’s transition from NeoPets to ABCmouse.
Doug Dohring's Early Career
Doug Dohring’s entrepreneurial success story began more than three decades ago in 1986 when he founded The Dohring Company. Within five years, his company became a top-100 market research firm in the U.S., serving thousands of clients, and the largest provider of custom market research to the retail automotive industry. In 1998, Doug launched OpinionSurveys.com, a multi-million-member online research panel. In 2004, OpinionSurveys.com was acquired by Greenfield Online, a NASDAQ-listed public company and one of the largest market research firms in the country at the time (later acquired by Microsoft).