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Student Entrepreneur to $10M+ in Revenue Without Dropping Out: Course Hero CEO Andrew Grauer (Part 4)

Posted on Saturday, Apr 26th 2014

Sramana Mitra: You were doing college level courses?

Andrew Grauer: Yes, we focused on US colleges. Then, we expanded internationally as well and now we’re just starting to go into high school.

Sramana Mitra: Within those colleges, was there any bias in terms of courses?

Andrew Grauer: It seems like there’s a lot more engagements per piece of content in STEM courses. Then, probably the revenue is higher for business or marketing related programs.

Sramana Mitra: You keep referring to tutoring. Talk to me a little about what is the kind of content that has been accumulated in the site and explain why you use the tutoring metaphor.

Andrew Grauer: I use tutoring because it’s the best way to understand that we’re providing supplemental help to somebody who’s enrolled in school to really get the most out of the course and succeed most effectively. It’s a word that describes that action effectively. We focused on study guides and notes. We eventually added different services. We added tutoring as a product line to our business as well as a number of tools focused around the flashcard space. With all of those things, we focus on content – whether it’s study guides, notes, or actual tutors. We wanted it all to be tagged and structured so it really helps somebody who’s taking a specific course at a specific school. We also try to tag to different taxonomies like subject taxonomy in the order of Math, Calculus, or even to a standardized test or a book.

Sramana Mitra: Is there actual tutoring involved?

Andrew Grauer: Yes, we do online and in-person tutoring.

Sramana Mitra: What format does that take? You have your own tutor?

Andrew Grauer: It’s a marketplace of tutors. We have thousands of tutors on the platform who are able to answer their questions in different subjects. A lot of them are based out of different colleges that we’ve already approached.

Sramana Mitra: You’re allowing students at those same colleges that you cater to also tutor and make extra money?

Andrew Grauer: They can tutor other students in any school at any level that they are capable of tutoring.

Sramana Mitra: Is there any kind of platform that you provide them with to do online tutoring?

Andrew Grauer: We have an in-house platform to facilitate students and tutors asking questions and giving answers to each other. We also provide a tool through online video tutoring as well as network where we can have people do tutoring in-person.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s switch gears and talk about pricing models. How do you charge?

Andrew Grauer: Mostly, it’s a flat pricing for the subscription. You either pay close to $40 a month or about $100 a year.

Sramana Mitra: That includes tutoring?

Andrew Grauer: With that, you get tutor credits and you can apply for tutoring as well.

Sramana Mitra: How do you pay the tutors then?

Andrew Grauer: We do a revenue share with the tutor. If a student uses tutor credit or pays the tutor through our platform, we do a revenue share with the tutor. It depends on who the tutor is, how long they’ve been tutoring with us, and what their rating is.

Sramana Mitra: If you look at your usage of this platform, how much of it is web self-service mode? It sounds like that’s your primary design principle. You want people to use this on their own versus assisted tutoring.

Andrew Grauer: We really try to focus on the end user always. Our main focus is helping the student learn and succeed in the course. The vast majority of usage is the end user.

This segment is part 4 in the series : Student Entrepreneur to $10M+ in Revenue Without Dropping Out: Course Hero CEO Andrew Grauer
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