When I was first introduced to Chegg several years ago, the company’s original concept was to be a Craigslist for college students. But soon after launching, the founders discovered that what people needed more than anything else were used textbooks.
At the time, it was far from certain that a business could be built around distributing used textbooks. After all, most people felt that need was being adequately met in the dusty backrooms of college-town bookstores. However, standing here today at the New York Stock Exchange celebrating the company’s IPO, I can say that we have once again seen the success of an approach that involves more than simply funding a company and hoping for the best. In the course (pun intended) of working with Chegg for the past several years, we began to see striking parallels between Chegg and other iconic companies that had found success.
Textbooks were hardly high on my (or anyone’s) list of hot technology categories when I first looked at Chegg. But one of the lessons from Foundation Capital’s experience as an early investor in Netflix was that there were huge opportunities for any company operating in areas where content could someday be digitized and rented. College textbooks certainly fit that bill.
I decided to co-lead the Series C round, and we’ve stayed on with the team at Chegg as an active investor, co-leading Chegg’s last round as well. We supported Chegg’s key acquisitions, helped recruit a fantastic CEO in Dan Rosensweig, worked with him to put together an incredibly talented team and the strategy that has led to today’s IPO, and, we believe, tomorrow’s success.
Today, Chegg has expanded its offering beyond textbooks to a full-service digital education platform and grown to a large-scale business.
Being a part of Chegg’s history for the last several years has been a wonderful adventure. I couldn’t be more excited about the prospects going forward, or happier for the entire team at Chegg. Every step of the way, they’ve matched talent with hard work. Today’s IPO isn’t the end of their story by any means. It’s the beginning of a new chapter as the company continues its quest to be the market leader in the digital education space. But today is a day to celebrate how far Chegg has come. So here’s to the entire Chegg family on today’s success. I feel extremely fortunate to have played a small part in it.