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Chegg Announces $80 Million Cash Deal to Acquire Thinkful, an Online Coding Bootcamp Provider

By Henry Kronk
September 04, 2019

Chegg announced on September 4 that it had signed a deal to acquire Thinkful, an online coding bootcamp provider, for $80 million in cash. That sum might climb by as much as $20 million “at Chegg’s sole discretion, subject to performance-based contingencies,” according to a news release.

The deal has been approved by both companies’ boards of directors. It is scheduled to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

Chegg Will Pay at Least $80 Million in Cash for Thinkful

“With the anticipated addition of Thinkful to our platform, Chegg will continue to expand our offerings and make it easier for students to accelerate their path from learning to earning,” said Dan Rosensweig, CEO of Chegg, in a statement. “Students are increasingly looking to improve their professional opportunities by learning the most relevant job skills, either while in school or soon after. Adding Thinkful courses to our suite of Chegg Learning Services will enable us to empower students to obtain in-demand, high-quality job skills, for the fastest-growing job categories, with affordable prices. Thinkful has achieved strong revenue growth of greater than 30% year-over-year because it has focused on going directly to students and helping them gain the most valuable skills for today’s workforce.”

Thinkful was founded in 2012 with the aim of training programmers to fill tech’s skills gap. The company reports that 85% of their graduates find jobs in their field in six months or less.

The acquisition marks the latest twist in Chegg’s history. They began as an online textbook rental provider in 2005 and experienced significant upheavals in the mid 2010s. In 2014, they reported net loses of nearly $65 million.

Throughout the decade, the company has vastly expanded their student-facing digital services to include note-taking and homework help offerings. The company has also acquired two adaptive personalized learning companies in the past few years. Cogeon, a German math supplement provider, was purchased in 2017. The next year, the company also acquired WriteLab, which uses AI to assess a writer’s skills.

2019 Is Shaping Up to Be the Year of Coding Bootcamp Acquisitions

While the company has made numerous acquisitions, Thinkful marks Chegg’s first step into the coding bootcamp arena.

“Being student-focused and going direct to students is at the heart of Chegg. As a result, we have an in-depth understanding of what students want in both academic and career services. Students want us to provide a relevant, outcomes-focused, pathway to help them get tech-enabled jobs and advance professionally once they are in those jobs,” said Nathan Schultz, President of Learning Services at Chegg, in a statement. “We believe that providing affordable, high-quality, human-supported, skills-based training represents an incredible opportunity to improve outcomes for learners, expands our TAM, and continues to realign our education system towards workforce development both in the United States and around the world.”

2019 has already seen two other major acquisitions involving coding bootcamps. Zovio, which was formerly known as Bridgepoint Education, acquired Fullstack Academy in March for $17.5 million in cash and 7.25 million common shares. 2U eclipsed both with their $750 million deal to acquire Trilogy Education Services in April.

Featured Image: Dhinal Chheda, Flickr.