In just four years, Chegg has become a part of the lexicon on college campuses across the country. What began as a textbook-rental company fashioned after Netflix has blossomed into a Silicon Valley darling with aspirations of becoming a "social education platform."
Founded by Aayush Phumbhra, Chegg has raised more than $200 million in funding. And it has had at least one customer from well over 7,000 of the 8,000 higher education campuses in the U.S.
"Our vision is to connect students to students, educators, content and services relevant to them while they're students," said CEO Dan Rosensweig.
Mr. Rosensweig, former president-CEO of Activision's "Guitar Hero" franchise, joined Chegg last year. At that point, the company got serious about moving beyond renting textbooks and bought a handful of startups, including CourseRank, Cramster, Notehall and Zinch.
"Every company we've acquired has been started by a student who had a problem," Mr. Rosensweig said. "Like all great companies, [the founders] arrived at solving a problem for themselves and found it was something much larger."
Chegg, whose lead creative agency is Last Exit, relies heavily on word-of -mouth marketing, aided by its distinctive, bright-orange delivery boxes and stellar customer service. Early on, Mr. Rosensweig explained, Chegg chose to make the boxes eye-catching so that students would save them after receiving a shipment and reuse them to return books. And surprises, in the form of orange sunglasses or samples from sponsors, are often included in the boxes.