TFP Biz Model

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Licensed Educational Products

Five educational products that offer licensed use to educational institutions are Adobe for Education, Office 365 for Education, NewPath Online Classes, Tech4Learning and Write About Online. Below is a description of each license offering including price structure if available.

Adobe Education Software License

Adobe has three licensing plans for schools and non-profits:

1. Value Incentive Plan (VIP)-a subscription-based license scalable for all size institutions. With this plan schools can opt to purchase a named-user license, device license, K-12 school license or K-12 District license. In addition, named-user or device licenses can be deployed for Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) or at-home personal devices for active students and faculty. The annual subscription payment is expected up front. An extended license for up to 4 years is also available. The entire four-year subscription must be paid upfront. Purchasers are assigned an Adobe Account Manager that provides support both before and after purchase. Pricing is available by contacting an Adobe representative and will vary based off of volume of usage and contract terms.

2. Cumulative Licensing Program (CLP)-is a perpetual single license agreement allowing the user to access the product in accordance with the End User License Agreement. The license must be renewed every two years. The initial volume purchased sets the discount level for the organization. Additional purchases will be at the set discount level until the number of purchases reaches the next discount level. For educational institutions the discount levels are: 5,000-49,999; 50,000-99,999; 100,000+. Institutions can combine other licensing plans with the CLP plan for discount levels. Purchasers have access to the Adobe Licensing Website for license management resources. Pricing is available by contacting an Adobe representative or authorized Adobe reseller.

3. Transactional Licensing Plan (TLP)-allows users to make one time purchases at volume discounts with no membership requirements or agreements. The TLP provides a single serial number for the entire organization. Customers will have access to community resources, eSeminars, and white papers. TLP users can qualify for volume discounts for current purchases and future purchases. Pricing is available through an Adobe representative or authorized reseller.

Microsoft Office 365 for Education

Microsoft has three license plans for Office 365 for Education:
1. Office 365 A1 is a free license for both students and faculty. It is a free online-only version of Outlook, Word, Excel and Powerpoint with email capability. It provides a customized hub for classroom collaboration. Each user and faculty member must sign up separately.

2. Office 365 A3 is a per-user subscription-based license that offers access to both web and desktop versions of popular Office products such as Outlook, Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Each user can access the products on up to 5 PCs, 5 tablets and 5 phones. It also offers access to Professional Learning Community Groups and contains App Security. It costs $2.50 per student/per month and $3.25 per faculty member/per month.

3. Office 365 A5-is a per-user subscription-based license that offers the same products and services as A3 in addition to Advanced Threat Protection, personal and organizational analytics and enhanced visibility. The cost is $6 per student/per month and $8 per faculty member per month.

NewPath Learning Online Subscription License

NewPath offers two subscription license options for institutional access to online education products. Each license is good for every student in the building and up to 25 teachers. The plans offer unlimited access to all online content with full printing privileges and unlimited cloud storage. It is available for use on any device including PCs, phones and tablets. Illustrated help screens and a toll-free technical support number are provided to users. Plan Costs:
1. 1-Year Premium School Online Learning Subscription-$1,499.95 yearly
2. 2-Year Premium School Online Learning Subscription-$2,699.95 yearly

The products are available in classroom size license options as well. The features are the same as the School Plans but limited to up to 150 students. Prices are $49.95-$199.95 depending on class size.

Tech4Learning Software License

Tech4Learning offers two license options for schools and school districts. Product support for the platform is not published. Subscription costs are available by quote from a Tech4Learning representative.

1. Cumulative Volume Licensing (CVL)- schools and districts can purchase a discount volume license based off of the total number of licenses purchased over time. There is a minimum purchase of 5-20 licenses depending on the product. There is no term agreement. Version upgrades will require an additional purchase. Each device must have a separate license but there is no limit on the number of users that can access the product. Faculty and staff may install the products on one home computer.

2. Enterprise Licensing Agreement (ELA)-a per student plan that offers deep volume discounts. The agreement terms are for a 3-year contract period. The minimum purchase is 300 students and one grade level. There is no limit on devices. Both students and faculty can use BYODs. All version upgrades are included in the plan. Faculty and staff may install the products on one home computer.

Write About Online License

Write About is an online writing and publishing platform for students and teachers. It has both a classroom and school license:

1. Classroom License-features unlimited access for one teacher and up to 250 students. Discounts are available for multiple classrooms but work sharing between teachers and classes is not available. Additionally, students transferring to another class will have to be re-enrolled. Support is available through the Help Center. Teachers can also schedule help with a Teacher Ambassador. The cost is $49.95 per classroom per year.

2. School License-offers the same features and support as the Classroom License with the ability to share work between teachers and classrooms. Students may also freely transfer from classroom to classroom. All students and teachers in the building have access with this plan. The cost is $995 per year.


Adobe Education, Office 365, NewPath, Tech4Learning and Write About offer multiple license agreements ranging from one-time licenses to unlimited user and device plans. Price structures vary by number of users or devices.

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Subscription Based Educational Products

Five subscription based educational platforms in the "living market" include, Reflexion Yoga, Sibme, eBasketball Coach, and Lumosity. I have included the website, overview, products and services, target market, content publication schedule, and pricing structure for each platform on the attached spreadsheet.


Initially, I searched for personalized coaching or best life-type products that are subscription-based and target 14-18 year olds; however, I did not find any platforms in the United States that met all criteria. I did find a platform called Lifetick out of Australia that appears to offer exactly the kinds of products and services that would be of interest to you. Since the requested focus is the United States, I did not include this company on the spreadsheet, but it might be worth further investigation.

I turned my attention to apps and platforms that offer coaching or mindfulness products and services, which led me to and Reflexion Yoga. Both are educational in nature, but is more along the lines of a "live your best life" type product. Both and Reflexion Yoga target adults, but there are no restrictions on usage based on age.

Sibme is the only platform I could find that combined both education and coaching. Unfortunately, it is designed for teachers and administrators and not 14-18-year-olds. However, I believe it could be useful for your purposes because of its subscription model, which has an individual plan, school plan, and district plan. The other platforms I chose are all geared mostly toward individuals only, except for, which does have a Leadership Coaching product for businesses.

eBasketball Coach was chosen because it targets 14-18 year olds and aims to make them better basketball players. Although it is not exactly a "live your best life" type product, it does encourage players (and coaches) to become better at their craft. It does not offer much content for free and only has one subscription plan, but it does have a significant amount of content that is updated regularly.

Lumosity is a brain-training program that has several subscription plans. It is designed to help people maintain and improve their cognitive abilities so that they can live their best lives as they age. It is for this reason I selected this platform. In addition, it offers a collaborative research platform called the Human Cognitive Project, which allows users to learn more about cognitive disorders and brain training. Lumosity targets adults but says that the games are appropriate for ages 13 and up.


There are many subscription-based educational platforms available with a variety of subscription models., Reflexion Yoga, Sibme, eBasketball Coach, and Lumosity represent five different subscription models in the "living market" segment of educational platforms.
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B2C products and platforms for teenagers

Business-to-consumer products and platforms in the education industry all look for different ways to make money when the target audience is high school aged. Some companies, like Duolingo and Grammarly, offer free services to entice the target audience. Duolingo then makes most of its money through investors while Grammarly earns money through licenses with schools, universities, and other businesses. There are also companies like Nearpod that market towards teachers and schools so that they may provide services for the students through interactive lesson plans. In the offline realm, Varsity Tutors is at the forefront of paid one-to-one live tutoring sessions as well as free online practice problems and learning material.

When dealing within the education industry, teachers play a major role in providing students with learning products and platforms. Therefore, in some cases where a company markets towards teachers, it also does so with students in mind. Further distinction between students of various ages is not available in many cases, however. Below we have provided four of the most successful B2C products and platforms based on annual revenue and with the number of users in mind.

Duolingo is an app that helps users learn new languages. It is considered the "world's largest online language learning platform," and was named Apple's iPhone App of the Year in 2013 and Google Play's Best of the Best in 2013 and 2014. The app continues to exist today with more than 200 million learners and is completely free to users.

Though Duolingo is free to users, it is financed and paid for by a variety of investors, including Union Square Ventures, Ashton Kutcher, Tim Ferriss, New Enterprise Associates, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, and Google Capital. Duolingo cites more than seven billion exercises completed each month and this success has translated into financial success as well. July 25, 2017, after a Series E funding round by Drive Capital, Duolingo's valuation rose to $700 million. According to Owler, Duolingo has an annual revenue of $1 million.

Duolingo also earns some revenue by translating various websites and books, though the amount from those endeavors is not publicly available and Duolingo has largely stepped away from this. Users are also able to take a $49 language test that can be accepted by many universities for language proficiency.

Grammarly is a self-funded product and company that provides online writing assistance and tools to prevent plagiarism. Users may use it through a free extension through Google Chrome or through a paid premium service. The paid premium service largely adds weekly stats and insights, as well as premium checking across the web, advanced punctuation, and Microsoft Office integration. Businesses and schools may also purchase group licenses for multiple users. Though Grammarly is available for users of all ages, the company's education page markets towards K-12 institutions and universities.

When Grammarly, the company, began, universities purchased licenses and individual students paid subscriptions to use the services.

In 2012, three years after the company was founded, Grammarly reported $10 million in revenue per year. In 2015, Grammarly launched its free browser extensions for Google Chrome and Safari. The idea with this is to allow users to get introduced to the product, then nudge the customer to the premium version.

The concept has largely worked, as Grammarly now boasts more than 6.9 million daily users and routinely doubles annual revenue metrics. In 2017, for the first time, Grammarly raised money via a $110 million investment led by General Catalyst.

Nearpod is a company centered on providing interactive lessons for all grades and subjects from kindergarten to 12th grade. It is an online platform that creates lesson plans using video and other interactive techniques to transform classroom engagement. This is marketed directly to teachers as well as schools and districts to be used broadly throughout classrooms but the actual functionality is for students and is free to them. Nearpod is used in 10 percent of schools in the United States and primarily makes money via various payment plans for the teacher and/or school. There is a free option that includes polls, interactive quizzes, and more, but there is also a gold option for $120 per teacher per year as well as a $349 option. Founded in 2012, the company has an annual revenue of $7.8 million.

Varsity Tutors is a company that connects students with tutors for every learning style via a live one-to-one learning platform. Tutors and students meet offline as well as online for sessions to discuss individualized lessons. Pricing varies based on request and location, so individualized pricing is not readily available. The company does, however, market towards students of all ages, though primarily to high school students in need of ACT and SAT tutoring.

Varsity Tutors has headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, and posts an annual revenue of $25 million. The company also offers free online learning tools and various mobile applications to display free test e-books and more than 200,000 free practice questions, answers, and explanations.

Free and subscription-based education products are increasingly popular with students and non-students alike. Companies like Duolingo and Grammarly have grown their user base with free products and the offer of business licenses and the presence of investors helps to fund these free endeavors. Most B2C companies now provide at least some online presence, though companies like Varsity Tutors make most of their money from offline services.
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Non-Profit Sponsorship Model

According to the National Council of Nonprofits resource kit on corporate sponsorship, the most effective corporate sponsorship models are structured to simultaneously benefit charitable nonprofits and their sponsors. Nonprofits that follow these guidelines for their sponsorship revenue models include Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, World Vision and Student Sponsor Partners. These nonprofits also target individual sponsors.

Defining Corporate Sponsorship

The National Council of Nonprofits defines corporate sponsorship as "a payment by a business to a nonprofit to further the nonprofit’s mission." Nonprofits then "recognize and acknowledge" this business support for their "activities, programs, or special events." This relationship however needs be mutually beneficial to succeed. In return for the financial support provided to nonprofits, corporates stand to improve their public image and in so doing attract new business. Nonprofits can also raise their public profile through these sponsorships ultimately attracting more support.

Sponsorship Revenue models

Cause marketing sponsorship models are corporate "marketing programs" that showcase nonprofit agendas. These programs enable firms to attract customers that want to support nonprofit causes and are therefore structured to give a "percentage of sales" to nonprofit partners.

Matching gift sponsorship models are structured to enable corporates to match their employee donations to a nonprofit thereby doubling donation amounts. These models are very effective for nonprofits with individual donors who work for large corporations.

Non-cash gift sponsorship models have an in-kind format. In this case, businesses give "expertise or products" to advance nonprofit agendas.

Workplace giving sponsorship involves courting small monthly individual donations directly from employees of businesses. Similar to matching gift models, workplace giving goes a long way with large corporations.

Customer giving sponsorship targets customers of large retailers. Customers are given the opportunity to donate at check-out registers. This model works well for corporates because it raises their corporate citizenship profile without any investment.

Following is an overview of sponsorship revenue models used by Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, World Vision and Student Sponsor Partners.

Sponsors for Educational Opportunity

Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) has a program called SEO Scholars which aims to "transform public high school students into college graduates." It is a "free 8-year academic program" targeting "under served public high school students." The SEO Scholars initiative has achieved a college graduation rates of 90%.

SEO Scholars' sponsorship models include individual online donations, monthly giving, mail donations, matching gifts and corporate or foundation sponsorships. SEO Scholars' donations portal accepts one-time, recurring or installment payments via credit card and includes a matching gifts section where donors specify if their company will match their donation. Corporate supporters of SEO's Andrew Golkin Memorial Scholarship Fund are acknowledged on the fund's website.

SEO Scholars' also holds an annual "Achievement Benefit" fundraiser with 6 categories of sponsorship opportunities — Principal, Valedictorian, Graduation, Diploma, Classroom and Honor Roll. Sponsorship tickets range from $1,000 for the Honor Roll sponsor to $100,000 for Principal Sponsors who are accorded special seating and various forms of promotional recognition for the event. Individual tickets are also available, ranging in price from $200 to $500.

World Vision

World Vision is a "Christian humanitarian organization" which aims to uplift poor "children, families and communities," through programs such as its "Sponsor a child" initiative. The nonprofit's sponsorship models include online donations, gifts, corporate giving, church sponsorships, employer matching, legacy and philanthropic giving.

World Vision presents its individual sponsorship opportunities in the form of a charity "Gift Catalog," which can be shared. The catalog has several categories which include "Poverty in America" and Education. The Poverty in America portal features one-time, monthly and yearly donation plans starting from $25 to $125. The Education portal features a "backpack and school supplies" $22 donation assistance program targeting children in the United States. Regular donors are kept abreast of their support through updates in World Vision's award-winning magazine to keep them motivated to continue their support.

Corporates partner with World Vision through "Strategic Giving" and "Cause Marketing." Strategic Giving sponsorships are structured to enable firms to donate to programs that are in line with their "corporate values, commitment, business strategy, and desire to make an impact." Cause Marketing sponsorships are designed to simultaneously assist needy children and promote corporate brands and are structured as
— Charitable sales promotions where firms "pledge a percentage of sales"
— Firms donating "in lieu of employee or client gifts, awards, etc."
— Promotional challenges or matching employee/customer donations
— Empowering corporate staff to make donation requests from customers

Corporate sponsors become members of World Vision's Proud Supporter Network.

Student Sponsor Partners

Student Sponsor Partners (SSP) provides New York City "low-income students with a quality private high school education". Their model pairs disadvantaged students with sponsors who pay tuition and mentors who give "one-to-one support and guidance." SSP's sponsorship models include online donations and corporate sponsorships.

SSP's online donation portal accepts credit card tuition donations for a single day, $20 to a year, $4,100. Donors can choose between making a one-time or recurring gift and can also indicate whether their company will match their gift.

Corporate sponsorships are accepted through SSP's "general operating expenses" or through direct "tuition funding." Businesses also support SSP by "encouraging employees to participate as sponsors", and through "employee matching gift programs".


Effective nonprofit sponsorship revenue models ensure that both nonprofits and their corporate sponsors benefit from the partnership. Examples of sponsorship models include individual online donations, cause marketing, matching gift and customer giving programs.
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Certification Long-Term Support

1. Certificate in social emotional learning

This is a 3-course, post-baccalaureate certificate program that prepares school leaders to implement social-emotional learning (SEL) initiatives. During the course, an experienced mentor is provided to the participants and after the course ends, participants receive lifetime access to an online learning community of SEL practitioners and regularly updated resources. The community is staffed by a team of Community Resource Managers, who regularly curate and share the most recent and relevant resources, tools, and learning opportunities, which are available exclusively to program participants. Participants will be provided a network of peer participants who are working on parallel SEL-related projects, throughout the United States and abroad.

The five-week course (SEL101) costs $225, the 12-week course (SEL201) costs $349 and the 16-week course (SEL301) costs $495. Lifetime access to the online community is automatically granted to the graduates of these course without any extra cost.

2. Florida teacher certification

This certification program exam includes a state-approved educator preparation program and Florida Teacher Certification Examinations (FTCE) for teacher candidates. As part of the programs ongoing support, teachers are provided with a Field Supervisor and
on-campus mentor who provide in-classroom support and answer questions of the participant teacher for two academic semesters. The teacher also receives support from Program Advisors in the form of documentation, resources and a personalized education plan that tracks the teacher's progress toward certification.

The participants are provided with program advisement, subject area test advisement, job market possibilities, and admission requirements. Although the program does not place candidates in teaching positions, they support the candidate in securing employment by providing interviewing resources and
notification of employment opportunities in the candidate’s
certification area.

An upfront cost of $195 is paid to begin the course. The rest of the $2,800 fee is deferred and is paid interest-free in equal monthly installments over the first year of the participant as a salaried teacher. The ongoing support is provided as part of the program without any additional payment.

3. Toyota certification for technicians

Toyota’s Technician Training & Education Network (T-TEN) is an automotive technician-training program conducted with collaboration between Toyota, community colleges, and vocational schools. As part of their ongoing support, the program places the participants in positions of factory certified technicians in over more than 1,400 Toyota and Lexus dealerships across US. Toyota also supports AYES (Automotive Youth Educational Systems), an educational partnership among automotive manufacturers, the automotive service aftermarket community, auto service employers and high schools. Support is also provided in the form of sponsorship by Toyota of SkillsUSA, a career and technical student organization serving high school, college students and professional members enrolled in technical training programs or classes.

There are 36 institutions providing the T-TEN certification and the cost is based on the course provided by the institution.
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Freelance Market Platforms

As eBay revolutionized the way we shop and Airbnb is reshaping the way we travel, online Freelance Market Platforms are changing the way people work. There are numerous platforms that connect employers with freelance job seekers. Today the width of work being executed using these platforms ranges from ‘designing a greeting card’ to ‘teaching a language’ to ‘development of a supply chain software’.

Many of these platforms work as an integrator and leave the employer as well as freelancers to their own devices. However, given the huge upsurge in the demand for freelance jobs, both from seekers and employers, freelance workplaces are changing fast. Platforms no longer want just to build a network of talent; they have begun to vet freelancers, and at the same time, they are also becoming arbitrators when disputes arise.


As technology advances, it has become easier for a worker to "connect and work with talent anywhere across the world." Below are 11 platforms, along with insights into how each platform is building and vetting its network of talent:


At Toptal, "the network is designed for elite software engineers and all candidates must pass a stringent screening process, ensuring that they have plenty of experience, high technical expertise, and excellent communication skills." Of thousands of applications received monthly, fewer than 3% are accepted by Toptal.

Steps used in the vetting process:
a. Extensive language, personality, and communication interview
b. Comprehensive review of technical abilities, problem-solving skills, and intellect
c. Live exercises covering core topics
d. Test projects
e. Ongoing review of track record


One of the most critical opportunities for hiring managers, according to UpWork, is the "ability to review a candidate’s previous work." Upwork’s platform provides the following details about a freelancer upfront for the client to see: Work History; Skills; Portfolio; Client Ratings; and Hourly rate.

Currently, Upwork is working with enterprises using 'Talent Sourcing Assistance' and 'Program Management'. According to Upwork, this is "a new division that combines consultative service with their technology platform, enabling quick access for enterprise companies to the specific freelance talent they need."

Upwork AI technology is reportedly capable of identifying the top 1% of freelancers, while Talent Services' provides clients with "dedicated freelancer evaluation and support teams," which then "work proactively with the top 1% of freelancers to identify the top 3% of those 1%, called the premier freelancers."

3. GUN.IO boasts that the company does not rely on the 'top x% formula', but instead, each freelancer is thoroughly vetted. Freelance engagement is not measured by algorithms, but rather managed by real people., seeks full-time freelancers with documented skills in software development, and active professionals on the platform have at least six years of experience in a "production software development environment." CVs, LinkedIn profiles, examples of high-quality codes, documentations, and other sample works are utilized for vetting purposes.


Staffaway connects employers to remote support staff based in the United States, focusing on providing highly skilled workers. An annual membership to Staffaway includes content verification and criminal background checks on a maximum of 10 candidates, as well as unlimited access to job seeker profiles on the site.

At Mylittlejob, "quality is paramount." All freelancers are rigorously vetted through a two-step process: Selection and Verification. The process begins when freelancers complete an initial assessment test, and they are also routinely re-assessed after the completion of each assignment. When a job is available, the "best expert for the job" receives a notification to begin work on the task. All results are peer-reviewed by experts, which ensures the high-quality work clients require.


Credo's specialty is SEO and digital marketing. All providers are thoroughly vetted before they are listed on the site. When a potential worker applies to Credo, the vetting process includes asking for two of their clients and URLs, where their "metrics in AHREFS and similar tools" are evaluated.

Credo also provides a "porter service" whereby the company's founder interacts with the client to identify key information about his/her business. The founder then identifies "needs and areas of opportunity; helps in defining budget; and gives personal advice to clients including recommendations/introduction with agencies/consultants."


Crew boasts a "network of handpicked and vetted professionals and helps find the best match." Crew employed a highly experienced team, which manually assesses the quality of each potential Crew professional before access to any assignments is granted.

The vetting process is not described in detail, but Crew has indicated that, "the goal of Crew is to ensure that each project finds the right professional, every single time. There’s no second-best on Crew!"

As Outsourcely notes, "The difference between the works on Outsourcely the other services is RELIBILITY". Outsourcely uses a third party employment history verification system to ensure the reliability of its workers. Additionally, Outsourcely's formula optimizes the selection process by matching the skill requirements of the client and ensures the client hires the most highly-qualified remote worker.


Textbroker utilizes the following process to provide the most skilled talent and ensure high quality delivery: "Expert Freelance Authors, Plagiarism Protection, and Quality Controlled Content."

Textbroker guarantees that the task will be completed as required, even if the initially assigned writer cannot complete it, for any reason. Textbroker also utilizes a Textbroker Expert Center, which provides "helpful blog posts, videos, and tutorials, suiting the needs of clients as well as authors."


Freelancer boasts that the company employs experts representing "every technical, professional and creative field," which provides an extensive range of services. Additionally, Freelancer hosts competitions, which allows freelancers to demonstrate their skills to potential employers by competing with one another.


Workers on Freeeup represent "the top 1% of online freelancers in eCommerce, digital marketing, web development, and virtual assistance." Freeeup prioritizes a solid command of the English language, experience in the field, and strong communication skills. All workers are pre-vetted.

The vetting process includes the following steps:
a. Application: Resume, portfolio, short answers, Internet speed test, and typing test
b. Interview: Review skill specific scenarios with Freeeup experts
c. Screening: Address problem solving skills, verify communication skills, and evaluate work ethic
d. Final step: Applicants are provided with Freeeup's Marketplace Communication Guidelines, which are over 15 pages of information.


It can be said that "technology has fueled the evolution of work," and it is the backbone of today's freelance economy. Freelancers are playing an increasingly important role in the economy and this may even shape the future of work itself. Finally, Freelance Market Platforms have a bright year to look ahead, with many platforms already having taken the lead in providing better services to clients as well as the freelancers.
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Crowdsourced Content Platforms

There are many crowdsourced content platforms in existence today. We were able to locate one educational platform called Course Hero and several open platforms that allow anyone to be a part of the community and engage them in challenges and contests. The most notable ones are Kaggle, InnoCentive, openIDEO, and Tongal. Finally, we were able to find several crowdsourced platforms that are more particular in choosing members with niche skills and they vet them before allowing them to collaborate on projects. Examples are Scripted, 10EQS and uTest.


In 2011, there was a huge push for crowdsourcing and many companies raised funding well into the millions. Several crowdsourcing platforms have either been acquired or went bankrupt, while others are doing well in the space. For example, Kaggle was acquired by Google in 2017. TopCoder was sold to Appirio and Quirky filed for bankruptcy.

According to Harvard Business Research, there are 4 reasons this has happened:

1) All projects are not the same and require different skill sets. In general, one solver cannot be substituted for another. UBER, on the other hand, can substitute any number of drivers as a solver.

2) Timing and production is another issue. One crowdsourcer spent anywhere weeks designing a project while can affet their take-home hourly wage. Another crowdsourcer tried to produce the product its members designed instead of finding a less expensive manufacturer.

3) There has to be intrinsic value for the members. These types of companies have issues is that they run these contests with hundreds of thousands of members submitting solutions and one person wins, which seems like a waste of the rest of the members. According to a Harvard Business Research case study, 99.4% of the InnoCentive members never won. The study indicated the odds of winning an admission into Harvard would be better than winning a contest.

4) Crowdsourcing companies need to find their niche, be unique, and attract as much talent as they can to leverage all areas. Each project has to have value to the community as a whole, not to just one area because a company cannot be built as a whole with all its parts going different directions.

We have identified a list of crowdsourcing platforms operating today with their membership and what they do for companies and for their membership talent.


Course Hero is a crowdsourced content platform in the educational industry. The company started in 2006 and by 2014 it had 38 employees. Today it has nearly 160. It has grown by allowing its members to share content. The company has been able to be successful by building its member engagement into a community of more than 10 million users. One thing it did to promote brand awareness was host events at local colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and Canada. Course Hero employees interact with users on a daily basis to get to know them and understand needs and wants. The great thing here is that the users provide the content and the community flocks to it and continues to build it and bring in additional traffic to the platform. Course Hero calls it the value creation loop. Members can pay for access to view content or they can just contribute content. They can create study guides, lecture notes, and answer questions to help build a stronger community.


Tongal is a content driven platform. It provides brand content and video strategies to help brands communicate with their audience. Tongal posts briefs on what it's looking for and its member base of 120,000 begin generating ideas to fit the brief and Tongal selects the idea that best meets the criteria. They pay the member a fee and then begin pitching the idea. Winning ideas are awarded money to see the idea finalized in production. Tongal also grew dramatically between 2013 to 2015. In 2016 they had approximately $30 million in bookings. Tongal has put an end to the traditional form of an ad agency with its open content production strategy. This gives the opportunity for anyone to contribute to the idea of creation to production.


Open IDEO is a crowdsourced open platform that helps design solutions within its community for social problems that exist in the world today. They currently have 39,000 members and while the majority are from the U.S., they do have members from 160 countries. While it originally began as an internal collaboration tool for IDEO and its clients, it is now a public tool. The company mostly allows the community to work together from the idea phase through funding, but it does have grants for the Amplify program. Open IDEO believes much of its success is attributed to both the thinkers and the people actually in the field that respond with what is really happening in the location. This is helpful before deploying a mission.


With nearly 500,000 data scientists in its member base, Kaggle, who was founded in 2010, focuses on data competitions where all can participate. Kaggle allows the scientists to showcase their techniques and skills where companies can see and hire them. Competitions have been known to award prizes up to $3 million and winners become eligible for a spot on the Kaggle leaderboard. In the first quarter of 2017, Google acquired Kaggle. Google had past interactions with Kaggle when they teamed up for a competition to classify YouTube videos.


10EQS is a crowdsourcing consultant. They help companies who have maximized their capacity internally and still need help. The company has thousands of specialists around the world who provide consulting services and market intelligence. Anyone can join the platform, but 10EQS projects are on an invitation basis because of a members' expertise. 10EQS helps clients by capturing business, improving operations, accelerating innovation, and growing companies. When assembling its team, 10EQS brings in its core team, subject matter experts, and collaboration managers. Many of its experts are former employees who do not have current employment agreements and those that have non-compete clauses.


Scripted boasts of being the leading provider of original written content for crowdsourcing. To join, it takes filling out an application and submitting a never been published writing sample. During this process, Scripted only selects about 2% of applicants to become Scripted writers. For companies looking for writers, they have a smartmatch program that will pair them up with writers based on knowledge of their technology.


Zooppa is an open crowdsourcing platform that helps companies with creative design graphic and video content. It's free to join the Zooppa community and become a registered member. Members are then allowed to participate in projects, vote on contest entries, network and become friends with other members. Zooppa works in three ways. An open project brief can be submitted in which members will develop the idea. A private project in which Zooppa invites members to participate and provide ideas designs and finally, direct production, where the company has the idea, they just want it to be executed by Zooppa.


uTest is a software testing crowdsourcing platform and is the largest of its kind. This is an open platform where anyone can join, but only past performers are allowed to participate in the paid projects. They have a very thorough vetting process to make sure they are getting the best of the best. With that said, the company has about 250,000 member testers.


InnoCentive is an open crowdsourcing platform with nearly 380,000 experts on hand. The company is based out of Massachusetts and anyone can join the membership. InnoCentive submits a wide variety and abundance of challenges to its members looking for innovative solutions. Rewards for being the solver of the challenge can be anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000.


TopCoder is an open platform crowdsourcer with 1.2 million active experts in technology and design. The company opened in 2001 and offer more than 7000 challenges per year and have paid its experts more than $80 million. TopCoder promotes computer programming contests and award winners. The company offers design and prototyping, algorithms and analytics, and application development.


In summary, you can see the variety of crowdsourcing platforms, the member bases, and the companies offerings to its members and to the public. Course Hero is an educational crowdsourcing platform with more than 10 million members that it allows collaborating and post ideas, study guides, and lecture notes. Several other popular ones are Tongal, Kaggle, InnoCentive, Scripted, TopCoder, uTest, and Open IDEO. Each has a U. S base of members and offers challenges and briefs and award-winning innovative ideas. Several have a vetting process by which they narrow down those the company will use for projects. Scripted probably has the most stringent vetting process as only about 2% of member registrations are accepted.
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Approved Educational Vendors

Major cities like New York, Newark, Philadelphia, New Haven, Detroit, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and San Francisco require educational vendors to register with each city's Department of Education or the city in general in order to provide services to schools. Other cities, like Chicago, do not require registration, but instead a contract or sponsorship. Upon going through the proper channels, approved vendors may then bid for available tenders. Additionally, charter schools in certain areas have lists of "preferred vendors" that are considered the best available for jobs in question.

Application and Registration Process

Several cities researched for this inquiry exhibited similar application and registration processes; the most detailed of these examples was located for New York City, which will be the model this information is drawn from. Newark, Philadelphia, Detroit, New Haven, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and San Francisco all have similar processes to the one detailed below.

1. Register with a city's Department of Education (DOE): registration with the DOE in New York, for example, requires submitting a W-9 form, a Non-Contracted Vendor Add Form, and a Fingerprint Referral Form. Additionally, if direct contact is to be made with students when a service is provided, vendors must submit to background checks.

2. Respond to a Request for Proposal (RFP) on the selected city's DOE website: a Request for Proposal is used to award vendors contracts for a variety of professional services. Vendors submit their own proposals for contracts and await approval from the DOE of their city. From the submitted proposals, the vendor who best meets the criteria for the service in terms of pricing, experience, reputation, and quality will be selected for the RFP in question. It should be noted that RFPs are time sensitive and if they are not submitted on time, will not be considered. Please note that RFPs may be called Invitations for Bid (IFBs) or Pre-Qualification Solicitations (PQS) in other cities.

3. Await approval from the DOE after submitting the RFP: RFPs are evaluated and scored, and occasionally vendors will be asked to support their RFP with a presentation. Once evaluations are complete, one or multiple vendors may be awarded the contract in question.

4. Upon receiving approval and a contract for the job in question, provide services and receive payment.

While the above is a basic outline of this process, several cities included in this research have additional caveats and steps to their registration process. In San Francisco, for example, vendors must sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which is essentially another form assuring the DOE that the organization in question can be trusted. In Detroit, vendors must register online with DemandStar, FedBid, or Buy4Michigan in order to receive notifications about what sorts of services and goods are needed by educational organizations. New Haven requires vendors to register with the purchasing board of the city in order to be considered a viable vendor.

Unlike other major cities researched here, Chicago is unique in that it does not require this registration process, but rather asks that vendors acquire a contract or sponsorship from Chicago Public Schools.

Charter Schools and Preferred Vendor Lists

While no evidence was found to suggest that the application and approval process to be a vendor for charter schools is any different, in cities like New Haven and New York, there are preferred vendor lists that charter schools have compiled. In New York, The Charter Center provides a list of educational vendors that have received at least one positive recommendation from charter schools in the city. Additionally, these vendors have agreed to pay "a nominal administrative fee" to The Charter Center. In New Haven, preferred vendors for charter schools are thoroughly vetted by the Northeast Charter Schools Network in order to guarantee top quality service.

There was no evidence found to suggest that preferred vendor lists are common in several places for public schools, however cities like Los Angeles have spoken out against the phenomenon, calling these lists "exclusionary."


Most major cities — including New York, Newark, Philadelphia, New Haven, Detroit, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and San Francisco — require educational vendors to register through the Department of Education (DOE) in order to legally provide services to schools. Uniquely, Chicago does not require the same method of registration, but instead a contract or sponsorship through Chicago Public Schools. Vendors who are approved in the registration and application process may then bid for available tenders. Additionally, charter schools in cities like New York and New Haven will often provide "preferred vendor" lists, which they claim only offer the best vendors.

From Part 03