We interviewed Andrew on the Entrepreneur Journeys series five years back when Course Hero was at around $10 million in revenue. In 2018, the company’s website had 300 million visits. Revenue is approaching $100 million. And as for comparables, Pluralsight has gone public and has validated the business model of all-you-can-eat subscription-based online learning.
Read on to deep dive into the trends for the sector.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to a bit of a recap. We had you over five years ago and you told us your entrepreneur journeys story. Give us a little recap and then let’s catch up.
Andrew Grauer: I can’t believe it’s been five years since we last chatted. It’s amazing to catch up with you and hear about what you’ve done over this period of time and to talk about the progress here at Course Hero. As a recap, I’m the CEO and Co-Founder at Course Hero. We’re based here in Silicon Valley in the Bay Area.
We started Course Hero back in 2006. I was a sophomore at Cornell University at that time. Fast forward from 2006 to January 2019, we are still focused on helping students succeed. The business started from a point of me empathizing with full-time students and knowing that I cared deeply about education and my learning and also feeling how incredibly hard and stressful it can be to achieve those goals. It turned out how universal of a problem and an opportunity it was to help students who are studying. I felt it. It just turned out that it wasn’t only me.
What we’ve now learned over time is that there’s an issue with graduation in United States. What we found is that over 40% of students in the United States don’t graduate within six years. 40% of students are dropping out. When you look at it over time, over 60% don’t graduate on time. When we look at who these people are, the amazing thing is it’s not just students at Cornell University but across the 4,500 colleges in the US. 70% of the students are working. 40% of them are working 35 or more hours a week.
Then about 4 million or 5 million students are parents. They’re older than 26. They’re probably working too. They’ve got a family. They’re also trying to get their degree. They get very stressed and anxious a lot more than people know because of their situation. They’re taking on debt. 70% of the students in the US are taking on about a median of $37,000 in debt.
It’s a high-pressure, difficult, and really important problem that exists, and there’s an opportunity to really help. That’s what’s been really exciting. There is an opportunity to create a platform that is making it easier and better for students to be able to learn and graduate. That’s the evolution of the landscape that we’re playing in.