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CourseSky

1) Explain your business model in one paragraph. Write out how it spends money, acquires users, and earns money.

CourseSky provides online courses to help high school students get college-ready. Students use our courses because they want an alternate academic experience, i.e., to get better instruction than they have at school or to take courses not available to them at their school. Our business model is "freemium" - students can access some of the course material free (e.g., video content, basic practice) but pay to have access to more detailed practice problems, and an in-depth report of their skills. We spend money on creating course content, building the product, and engaging a community

2) Detail out your main costs, main ways to acquire users, and earn money. Outline the equation in text below. In Week 2, we'll start putting this into Excel.

Main Costs:

  • Course content - each course requires 200+ hour of time to create including organizing curricula, making videos, writing practice problems, and more. We estimate that it would take an experienced teacher working full-time about 10 weeks to build out a course including making updates based on feedback
  • Product - our platform allows students to watch bite-sized videos (Hosted on YouTube), read material, and take practice courses. We are also building a premium product that gives student a skill-by-skill breakdown of their strengths and weaknesses. The long-term goal is to build the best platform for K-12 learning online, and that will require major investment in engineering and product
  • Marketing - initially we are marketing through community based organizations, parent groups, and social media. Ultimately we will need to invest heavily in marketing to scale

Revenue Streams:

  • Premium accounts - we hope to convert a share of users from the free product (primarily content) to premium tools that help students learn faster. These include a skills-report that show the student his/her specific strengths and weaknesses. In the future, premium offerings might also include the ability to get live help, and to earn school credit
  • Lead generation - we may explore lead generation and helping colleges identify talented prospective students

User Acquisition:

  • Social media/using our blog to create compelling college-ready content that drives users to academic courses
  • Marketing directly to home-school groups, community based organizations, etc.

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