MasterClass was formed by David Rogier and Aaron Rasmussen in 2014 under the name Yanka Industries. The website was published publicly under the MasterClass name on May 12, 2015. It had 30,000 sign-ups within a few months of release.
MasterClass was started with $4.5 million in initial funding and two seed-funding rounds totalling $1.9 million. This was followed by $15 million in funding announced in 2016, $35 million in 2017, and $80 million in 2018. As of 2018, MasterClass' total funding was about $130 million.
Initially, MasterClass was started with just three instructors. 12 classes were added in 2017. In late 2017, an acting class given by Kevin Spacey was removed after multiple sexual assault allegations were publicly made against the actor. By late 2018 MasterClass had about 50 classes and 1,000 lessons. Support for mobile devices was first added in April 2018.
MasterClass won two Webby Awards in 2020. One for Education & Reference in the category Apps, Mobile & Voice, and the other for Media Streaming in the category Web.