Cofounder and SVP, Chegg
Santa Clara, California
Phumbhra, 32, is reforming the dysfunctional world of college textbooks by renting them to students nationwide.
"Students get sticker shock when they buy textbooks — required readings can add up to $1,000 each semester. If a book costs $100, students might be able to pay $75 for a used copy but will likely get nothing back when they try to sell it at the term's end. We can get them that book for just $30. We have a catalog of 4 million titles, and students use our service on more than 7,000 campuses. We recently started working directly with campus bookstores at just eight schools, and we already have interest from 100 campuses. People are quick to call e-books the future, and that will happen eventually, but students still like the feel of a physical book. The battery life is unlimited."
A version of this article appeared in the December 2010/January 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine.