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Company emerges as resource for students

Profile: Chegg.com, Borders merge to better serve educational community

Posted: December 29, 2010 9:05 p.m.
Updated: December 30, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 

Three entrepreneurial startup companies from California founded by students joined forces this year to offer students help with homework, college planning and saving money on textbooks.

Textbook-rental company Chegg.com joined forces with the bookstore chain Borders to offer school textbook rentals at substantial savings to students.

More than 1.4 million new and used textbooks are available online through Borders.

In addition to saving on purchases, students can also earn extra cash by selling back their used textbooks on the company’s website, using the textbook-buyback option

“Our mission to make students’ lives easier is in line with Borders’ own commitment to offering the best books and educational materials to its customers,” said Dan Rosensweig, president and CEO of Chegg.

Through the textbook-rental partnership, Chegg will serve as the sole provider of textbook rentals through Borders.com.

The two firms announced their joint effort in November.

“We are committed to offering the best books and educational materials to our customers,” said Mike Edwards, CEO of Borders Inc.

Chicken and egg
The name Chegg is reported to be a contraction of the words chicken and egg, based on the founders’ postcollege experience.  They couldn’t land a job without experience, but couldn’t get experience without a job, posing the chicken-and-egg dilemma.

Created in Santa Clara in July 2007, the company’s owners initially purchased textbooks using personal credit cards. The company displays the many venture-capital companies it has received support from on its website.

In July of this year, the company announced it had hired Robert Chesnut, formerly of eBay Inc., as the company’s general counsel.

Chegg said that today it is the No. 1 online textbook-rental company. Time magazine named Chegg.com as one of the 50 best websites in 2010.

The company said that it has saved students millions of dollars on more than 6,400 campuses nationwide.

Warehouse
Nearly a year ago, the Santa Clara-based company opened a new warehouse and distribution center in Kentucky, based on $1.5 million in tax credits offered under a business-incentive program the state offered. Chegg employs over 1,300 full-, part-time and seasonal employees at the warehouse.

Acquisitions
In August, Chegg acquired CourseRank.com, a startup company founded by three Stanford University students in 2007. 

CourseRank provides college students an easy way to plan, manage and track progress on their grades and academic career.  Students can also share their course schedules, take classes with their friends, read and write reviews on classes and professors as well as find out how professors grade.

“We are excited about CourseRank,” said Rosensweig. “We all share a commitment to saving students’ time, money and making them smarter.”

This past year, Chegg also purchased Pasadena based Cramster. Cramster is an online service providing homework help for college and high school students. 

Launching its student support services online in 2003, co-founder Aaron Hawkey got the idea when he was a student at UCLA.

Cramster offers both free and paid assistance in most studies, including math, science, accounting, English, business and humanities.

“We started Cramster to help students get unstuck when they need help most,” Hawkey said.

Readers can find more information about the student services on the companies’ websites: www.Chegg.com,
www.borders.com, www.courserank.com and www.cramster.com.

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