Sramana Mitra: From the end user’s perspective, is the end user using your platform largely in a web self-service mode? What percentage of that user uses self-service versus a tutor assisted usage?
Andrew Grauer: It’s probably going to be something like 70% to 80% self-service.
Sramana Mitra: I’m trying to gauge how big the tutoring phenomenon is in this community versus people just using the materials and teaching themselves.
Andrew Grauer: The majority is self-serviced. The tutoring assisted service component of the business is extremely important today and I think this is going to get more important over time.
Sramana Mitra: You said earlier that of the course concentration, the STEM courses get more action. You also said that you get a lot of revenue out of the business and marketing courses. Can you elaborate on that? What is the number of students that are using the platform for STEM, business, and marketing? Especially for our community, entrepreneurship is a big interest area. Do you have courses in that domain?
Andrew Grauer: We have courses across all topics of the vast majority of courses that are taught at the college level and the high school level as well. Again, you can tell by the way I answer these questions that I really don’t care too much about focusing on one topic or one type of course. We really care about getting great coverage across many different types of courses from as many schools as possible. The reason why this is important to us is that, at this date, when we think about building out an amazing product, we think of the US colleges having something like 21 to 22 million students enrolled around 4,500 schools at a 2 or 4 year public and private institution. We think that there are, on average, something like 1800 to 2000 courses in the course catalog. There’s over 8 million courses for 22 million students.
At this point in time, we’ve still only crowdsourced study resources for 120,000 courses with a meaningful amount of resources. Even in just US colleges, there’s so much work to be done to even get something that’s really good. There’s so many courses right now that we don’t have anything for. From an entrepreneurship perspective, that’s really an important insight.
Sramana Mitra: I was trying to get to some of these kinds of metrics actually as a leading question in exactly this direction. Let’s pursue that a moment longer. How many students are using your platform right now?
Andrew Grauer: We expect this year there will be 150,000 paid subscribers to the business. We expect there will be something like 150,000 courses with over 10 study resources in each of those courses. We call that a course pack.
Sramana Mitra: What about the free users – the people who are contributing courses and trying to use it for free?
Andrew Grauer: In that number, there are tens of thousands of free access.
Sramana Mitra: So it’s not huge. The real number that you’re focusing on is the 150,000 subscribers who are supposedly more intense users. There comes a question also in online learning – I’m sure you’re following this – there’s a lot of people signing up and they drop out and don’t follow through. Are you seeing that trend?
Andrew Grauer: We really do care a lot about the free access subscribers and maybe even more than the paid users because they’re the ones who are really trying to build the community. Without the people who contribute to the community and provide their own high-quality resources, Course Hero would not be a valuable platform for anybody. I don’t have the number at hand but it is substantial. It is less than the number of paid subscribers and I think that is normal for marketplaces. Our percentage of contributors is much higher than the vast majority of marketplaces.