Chegg, the company that began as an online platform offering college textbooks for rent and now offers other services for college students, is looking to raise $150 million in an initial public offering. The offering comes despite the fact that Chegg has never made money and, according to its prospectus, does not expect to be profitable “in the near term” because of its decision to keep investing in the expansion of its platform.
Chegg said it will use the proceeds from the IPO to repay $21 million in borrowings as well as for general corporate purposes which could include acquisitions or more investment. Although company revenues rose steadily between 2010 and 2012 so have its losses. Revenue in 2012 was $213.3 million, up from $148.9 million in 2010, but its net loss in the most recent year was $49 million compared to a loss of $26 million in 2010. For the six months ended June 30, 2013, revenue was up 26.5%, to $116.9 million compared to the first half of 2012, and the net loss was cut to $21.2 million from $31.9 million.
To date, Chegg has generated the bulk of its revenue from the rental of print textbooks with that part of the business generating 81% of total sales in the first half of 2013 and revenue from non-print products (e-textbooks and other services) accounting for the balance. Chegg said it has 180,000 textbooks available for rent through its platform as well as more than 100,000 e-textbooks. In 2012, students completed 3.7 million transactions, Chegg said, with the company renting or selling over 4 million print textbooks and e-textbooks, while about 320,000 college students used its Homework Help service. The company estimated it reaches about 30% of all college students.