Office Crashers: Chegg’s opening up its education platform which reaches 30% of college students

By Kym McNicholas , written on December 21, 2012

From The News Desk

Chegg arguably has 30 percent of US college students using its online education portal, which sells textbooks, helps students manage their classes, and even find scholarships. It has 15 percent of high school students using its resources. That’s why CEO Dan Rosensweig says he gets lots of calls and emails from other companies wanting access to his customers and data. But he’s been resistant to the idea until now.

Chegg’s experienced growth thus far has been through its own innovation, as well as five acquisitions of companies which offer products and services to help students get scholarships, get into college, get internships, manage their class schedules, and get homework help.

But now, Chegg is planning to open up its platform to allow other companies to use its student graph to provide relevant products and services. It won’t be a free-for-all. And there will be certainly criteria, which the company has yet to share.

“We want to ensure our students are protected and only receive the highest quality products available,” explains Rosensweig.

Rosensweig wouldn’t give an exact timeline on opening up the platform, except to say it’ll happen over the course of the next few months.

Chegg’s goal is to become that third graph of the Web. Facebook is your social graph. LinkedIn is your professional graph (although Branchout is fighting for that title). Chegg wants to own the student graph. And they’re on their way to achieving that goal.

Sarah recently wrote a fantastic article about Chegg after a long conversation with Rosenweig. She says:

I should note a lot of people want their company to be the third graph of the Web. MyHeritage and other genealogy sites want to be your family graph; many companies want to be a “taste graph.” The utilities of all of these are still up for debate.

Clearly everyone doesn’t need an education graph. But every year there is a huge number of incoming freshman who do. And it just so happens, they’re people a lot of businesses want to market to. “You’ve found the perpetual fountain of youth,” a marketing executive looking to sell stuff through Chegg recently said to Rosensweig.

In that sense, Chegg will start to become less about the classroom as it dominates everything connected with the classroom. Chegg has even built its own classroom to increase its connectivity with universities nationwide. It’s offering them the use of it for a semester to offer students classes on entrepreneurship and even an internship that follows, whether it’s with Chegg or other companies in Silicon Valley.

I recently visited Chegg’s new campus in Santa Clara. The company truly immerses itself in the campus culture, complete with the classroom, a dorm room, even bleachers.

Aside from Zynga, I have to say it's probably the most thematic office I have visited yet which is truly representative of their culture and customer.