Los Angeles Business Journal

West Hollywood Company to Help Students Cram

By Natalie Jarvey Thursday, September 19, 2013

West Hollywood education company StudyMode is putting a digital twist on a tried-and-true studying system.

The company, which operates a portfolio of study-help websites, has launched Cram.com for creating flashcards.

Using the free website, students can create their own flashcards or search the database of pre-made cards for common textbook material. The cards can then be reviewed on the computer or printed out for tactile studying.

StudyMode Chief Executive Blaine Vess said expanding into flashcards made sense for the company, which was already providing book notes and citation tools to students.

"We know a lot of our audience would like flashcards," he said. "Giving it to them instead of having them go to one of our competitors is a really great thing."

StudyMode acquired existing sites FlashcardExchange.com and FlashcardDB.com and merged them to create Cram, which currently has more than 68 million pre-made flashcards available.

StudyMode owns several sites including Cram. The main website, StudyMode.com, features sample essays on varying topics, book notes and AP notes.

Both the StudyMode and Cram sites are free to access and make money through advertising. Vess said he is also considering charging for ad-free versions that have extra features.

Vess co-founded StudyMode under a different name more than a decade ago. Over time, the company has acquired a portfolio of more than a dozen study websites in several languages. One of its most trafficked properties, for example, is a Spanish-language site popular in Mexico.

For several years, Vess and his co-founder ran StudyMode on their own. But a few years ago, they put renewed focus into growing the business.

"We had to ask ourselves if we wanted to sell the business and move on or try to take it and make it bigger," he said. "Bringing people in house and professionalizing the business has been huge for us. We get more done."

StudyMode has a staff of 19 in its Santa Monica Boulevard headquarters and the portfolio of sites has about 2.5 million visitors each day.

Vess said the company plans to continue expanding into other subjects, including math.