Esqyr was incorporated as a “public benefit corporation,” a new type of business entity that offers a unique sweet spot between for-profit corporations (which are required to deliver to shareholders), and non-profits which pursue a social mission. We often get asked why we did this — “Isn’t it just really just about donating free products to get some PR?” “Is it like Toms Shoes, but for test prep?”
Apart from a “no” to those questions, here’s why: public benefit corporations can solve a big problem in delivering valuable information inexpensively. As Stewart Brand noted:
“Information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other”
Incorporating Esqyr as a PBC helps resolve this tension because it requires that we deliver valuable information inexpensively.
The cost of delivering information has plummeted: serving 1,000 students now over the web is a lot more inexpensive than printing/shipping books. However, the price of bar exam prep keeps skyrocketing. With student debt at an all-time high, students need better options.
We believe PBCs can ensure that valuable information is delivered inexpensively, and we’re proud to be the first test prep company to do so.
The cost of an education — whether it’s from Esqyr or higher education — shouldn’t render a profession out of reach. In that way, Esqyr is more than “Toms Shoes, but for test prep”: we hope to show that PBCs are a new, innovative way to inexpensively deliver valuable information. Plus, we’re donating accounts and profits to tackle the student debt crisis.
Esqyr user testing begins later this month. We will have more updates in coming weeks, so that students can soon Do Good and Test Well.