Quizlet aims to 'provide the tools and resources' students need amid pandemic: CEO

Quizlet CEO Matthew Glotzbach joins the Yahoo Finance Live panel to talk the company's latest acquisition of Slader, and how the pandemic has impacted business.

Video Transcript

ADAM SHAPIRO: As schools reopen, we're looking at the spectrum from K through 12, even universities. And we invite into the stream somebody who knows a lot about helping students do even better on the exams and retain the knowledge they learn. Matthew Glotzbach joins us now. He's the CEO of Quizlet. Thank you for joining us.

Also Melody Hahm is here, our west coast correspondent. Because Quizlet recently acquired the company Slader, which, if I get it right, it's flashcards and other devices. Why was this a good acquisition for your company? Because what you help students do isn't necessarily what I think of as flashcards.

MATTHEW GLOTZBACH: Sure. No, thank you. Really excited to be here. So what Quizlet does is, we help people practice and master whatever they're trying to learn. And we started from humble beginnings as flashcards, but then have evolved into helping drive deeper forms of interactive learning, generating questions, activities, and games.

And what Slader brings to the table is really a deep expertise in detailed step-by-step problem-solving, especially in more complex topics like math and science, where students are really trying to go a level deeper and have a deeper grasp of understanding how to solve some of those tricky problems.

MELODY HAHM: Yeah, so Matt, regarding this acquisition, I know it fits into your larger vision. The company has been around for about 15 years. And now you're slowly making way, using that operating cash to figure out how to bulk up your portfolio. Tell us how this fits into your vision of really being that ultimate destination for high schoolers and college students.

MATTHEW GLOTZBACH: Yeah, absolutely. Look, we-- everything at Quizlet, we start with our user, who's the student, and helping them be successful in their learning. And we have over 60 million users using Quizlet every month to help practice and master what they're learning. And during these times, especially, really amplified by the pandemic, students are more required to drive self-directed learning. They have to do their own self-learning. And so Quizlet's looking to provide them the tools and resources to do just that.

Look, being a student is tough, and the pandemic has definitely made it more difficult. But it was high stress, high stakes before the pandemic and will be for years after. And as we bring Slader into the portfolio, it really helps us solve this core student need of this deeper understanding through step-by-step explanations.

SEANA SMITH: Hey, Matt. It's Seana. I'm sure that you saw a pretty large uptick there in the number of users over the past year, as more and more students or majority of students are learning from home. But my question is, as we go back to school, as more and more schools open, what percentage of that new customer do you see sticking around as schools do reopen?

MATTHEW GLOTZBACH: No, it's a great question. Obviously, a lot of people in the industry saw what is being referred to as the COVID bump. At Quizlet, we definitely saw COVID sort of accelerate the adoption, especially outside of the US and international market. But the need is there, even as students return to the traditional classroom.

That need for self-learning, to be able to-- you know, if you think about the amount of time you spend in a classroom versus the amount of time you spend actually studying and interacting with that information, where Quizlet plays is really that latter. And the need to study, the need to be very self-directed in the learning, that's just continuing to grow. And that'll be true even post-pandemic as we get back to normal.

MELODY HAHM: Matt, one of the things that became glaringly clear during 2020 and continues to be the case is that chasm, right? That digital divide, the economic resource divide. I know Quizlet has a freemium model. But as you think about how to really reach the underserved or underrepresented students perhaps who don't have families who can force them to be self-directed and self-motivated, how are you thinking that through as part of the business plan?

MATTHEW GLOTZBACH: Yeah, that's a great question. And unfortunately, like with all things, the pandemic has really shown a bright light on that very real divide that exists, both the digital divide, the socioeconomic divide. At Quizlet, we're really focused on scaled solutions that are broadly accessible. And so, it would be great if we could pair every human on the planet with a personal professional tutor. But we can't.

And so, Quizlet is really providing technology that starts to approximate that. And as you mentioned, our freemium model makes that broadly available to everyone. So we can provide these really high quality study tools to everyone for free. And then the last thing I'd say there is, we're not only focused on helping students learn core facts and concepts and deeper understanding. We're also helping them learn how to learn and how to study. And that's a big focus on making them very self capable to drive that self-learning, both now and in the future.

MELODY HAHM: Seana alluded to this, but I know you had a very busy 2020. You did manage to remain profitable, which has been sort of a proud point that you've been able to champion over the last couple of years. Tell us about your plans for an exit strategy here. Would you ever consider going public via SPAC? What's on the table right now?

MATTHEW GLOTZBACH: Sure. So at Quizlet, we believe in growing a very healthy and responsible business, and so that continues to be true. And our primary focus is on, really, how do we best serve our students, and how do we provide more capabilities to meet their self-learning needs? Definitely have our eye on the public markets at some point in time in the future, but haven't decided yet when and how the best way to go that way is.

ADAM SHAPIRO: We wish you all the best. Matthew Glotzbach is the CEO of Quizlet, and Melody Hahm, our west coast reporter, good to see both of you.