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I last wrote about BenchPrep, the all-digital standardized test prep company based in Chicago, when they raised $6 million in Series B in July. This week, the company announced a new subscription service that will allow students unlimited access to courses across platforms for a flat monthly rate.
Students using only the Web will pay $20 monthly, while those who access courses via mobile and tablet devices will be charged $30 per month. As of now, BenchPrep has 70 courses live, but expects to offer 500 before next year. According to founder Ujjwal Gupta, the summer’s funding was a catalyst for creating and marketing this service. “We will be promoting the subscription product very aggressively for the next 6 months and series B funding is a big reason behind it,” he said.
Solo BenchPrep course subscriptions (those that don’t offer access to the entire course library) are cheaper than a month-to-month subscription, but Gupta argues they aren’t necessarily more valuable. For example, a six-month Web+Mobile subscription to the Bar Exam Prep Course is $132, or $22 a month. Compare this to a Library subscription at the prices above and it seems the solo course isn’t much of a deal. But what about students who just want to study for a single test?
The interesting thing about Library subscriptions is that they grant students to access every BenchPrep course, rather than paying for and being limited to only one. This means, for example, that a student taking a Corporate Finance course can refresh his or her memory on Introductory Finance without buying another course. Gupta says that flexibility allows students to build their own dynamic and comprehensive curricula. For about $300 a year, he believe this is “tremendous value as a supplement,” at less than one percent the cost of a year’s college tuition.
Interestingly, Gupta says this change is more in line with the company’s mission as well. “Education is a service, not a product, and the subscription offering accommodates our philosophy far better than offering single courses,” he says.
Along with that, this model sets the stage for BenchPrep’s expansion into working with institutions. Gupta cites examples such as libraries, universities, and businesses as the types of organizations that frequently require group training and certification. With a flexible payment structure and product, BenchPrep seems poised to take on the challenge of group education.
Visit BenchPrep’s website, check out their BIC profile, and follow them on Twitter at @BenchPrep.