For an undisclosed price, Course Hero crazy guy Scribbr, a proofreading and editing service for scholarly articles. This is Course Hero’s latest deal in a string of purchases – including CliffNotes, LitCharts, QuillBot and Symbolab – all backed by a finance duo that has seen the edtech platform worth $1.1 billion.
Founded in 2012, Scribbr says it has an international network of 700 editors offering a variety of services, from editing to note-taking and clarity checking. The deal will help Course Hero expand its footprint in Europe, as Scribbr is a business based in the Netherlands. Overall, Scribbr’s focus is particularly on Course Hero’s 2021 purchase of Quillbot, an AI tool that helps clarify text feels somewhat reminiscent of Grammarly.
The Hero Course CEO Andrew Grauer explained that his company’s mission is to create an exceptionally high-level question and answer platform for students. It sells subscriptions to students that unlock access to all of its learning and teaching content, including course-specific material created by teachers and publishers.
The startup wants to be topic agnostic, meaning it can connect students with any major where they need advice, whether it’s proper grammar rules or algebra questions once. In a way, that looks like the future of education: students don’t need to give advice together and it’s even better if it’s on-demand assistance. Edtech companies that help similar students in different subjects can even find consistent gaps in their understanding. What if a company could tell a high school student that they constantly have trouble when it comes to reasoning questions?
However, its downside is hard to ignore. Just because a student wants to go to Course Hero for help with math doesn’t automatically mean they want to go to the company to see a summary of Shakespeare’s reading. That fact could detract from Course Hero’s hypothetical goal of creating a more useful product for customers.
Graeur’s response to that concern was that he said he had no immediate plans to integrate between the new and different companies in the Course Hero umbrella.
“We started with ‘let’s decentralize, let’s empower and continue the entrepreneurialism in building those individual companies,’” Graeur said. “And then if and when there are these moments, and you will start to see more and more integration of different content, tools and services between services at the right time.” The answer suggests that Course Hero wants to play a fundamental role and more in the lives of these companies, rather than combining and paying for them to drive more signups.
And take a minute to believe in the founder, who founded the company in 2006 and only recently started using venture capital As a lever to grow the core business, it seems that every acquisition continues to stand in its own particular world. He told me there’s more to it, which means we’ll see what the edtech appetite looks like as it scales.
“We are a company of relatively independent, more autonomous brands,” he said. “There are so many great opportunities to integrate each other’s technologies and services. And the question is how to rank those things and prioritize them.”