SM: What types of strategic partnerships have you been able to create?
EF: Strategic alliances are critical to our success and enable us to provide many resources for free to teachers, students and parents. Our partnerships with NBC and McGraw-Hill means HotChalk can provide time-tested, proven digital news video and teacher development resources offerings at a low cost to schools.
SM: How did you achieve these alliances?
EF: In August 2007, William Oldsey, Executive Vice President, McGraw-Hill learned about HotChalk. He came to us and initiated a partnership that would bring McGraw-Hill’s significant teacher training and certification tools to our users. Then NBC learned about HotChalk’s vision and its management proposed a partnership with HotChalk to distribute their comprehensive news archive as a supplement to traditional educational materials.
The resulting affiliation has led NBC to take a much more active role than anticipated including equity participation in HotChalk’s C round financing. The success of both ventures ensures that there will be more curriculum-related joint offerings in the near future on a national and regional level.
SM: Let’s examine the marketplace. How big is your market? How do you calculate TAM?
EF: Our target market is teachers, students and parents. Teachers globally lack essential educational resources. There are 3.2 million teachers, 55 million students and over 140,000 public and private schools in the United States. Globally, there are 29 million teachers and 464 million students. The English-speaking international market alone includes an additional 1.3 million teachers. We define the comprehensive global education marketplace as our total available market (TAM).
Our business model is to provide all teachers worldwide with a free, safe, easy and cherished tool to bring their classes online with the ability to interact with other teachers and share their best resources. HotChalk aims to be an advocate for teachers so they have the resources and support that government, administration and corporations have promised to offer, but have not. We enable these teachers to readily communicate with students and parents online.