How did 2U pioneer the higher ed landscape? Beyond convincing century-old institutions to take a risk on an entirely new delivery model, Chip and his team pioneered an entirely new business model, flipping the pay-as-you-go model upside-down, instead eating the cost of initial program development in order to take a cut of future student outcomes. This model better aligned all stakeholders across the education chain, ultimately creating the right incentives to produce better student outcomes.
But how did Chip and his team go about convincing their first few partners? Higher ed is notorious for its slow sales cycles. Chip shares his lessons learned working with multi-stakeholder, multi-year contract negotiations and specific tips on how to catalyze a sale. Hint: it’s never easy, but if your product truly delivers value, then you’ve got a fighting chance.
What are the key trends affecting higher ed today and how is 2U adapting? From mobile to federal funding, there’s a whole slew of trends affecting the higher ed landscape today. Chip shares his take on key dynamics like coding academies and apprenticeships that 2U is building its business around.
What are the key KPIs that Chip and the 2U team track to gauge the health of the business? Student retention is key, but that’s a consequence of much more granular actions. How do you track the quality of the student experience, the quality of your content, and the appeal of your program? Chip shares insights into the key KPIs that inform his team’s decisionmaking as they look to improve student outcomes globally.
What are the consistent patterns across the most successful public companies? With a few years in the volatile public markets under his belt, Chip explains how consistency and conviction are key to weathering any market meltdown. By working with public market investors who are aligned on the long-term, 2U is positioning itself to be an enduring, impactful business for decades to come.
Interested in learning more about 2U or Chip? Here are a few resources:
- About Chip
- How Diversity of Opinion Makes This Digital Educator a Better CEO
- Full Q&A: 2U CEO Chip Paucek on Recode Decode
- Founders’ Leadership Series with Chip Paucek, Co-Founder and CEO, 2U
Christopher “Chip” Paucek is the co-founder and CEO of 2U, Inc. (Nasdaq:TWOU), an education technology company that partners with leading colleges and universities to deliver the world’s best digital education.
Paucek’s innovative work at 2U has earned him many accolades, including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2012, the Goldman Sachs 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs Award in 2013, and multiple Highest Rated CEO awards from Glassdoor. In 2017, Paucek was named among America’s best chief executives by Institutional Investor magazine, ranking third among mid-cap technology, media, and telecom companies. He is a leading voice and speaker on entrepreneurship and the global education and technology landscape.
Prior to 2U, Paucek served as CEO of Smarterville, Inc., the parent company of Hooked on Phonics. Paucek began his entrepreneurial career in 1993 when he co-founded his first company, Cerebellum Corporation, which produced the award-winning educational television program and video series Standard Deviants. He led Cerebellum as co-chief executive officer until 2003. In 2004, Paucek took a break from the business world to serve as deputy campaign manager for the successful re-election of United States Senator Barbara Mikulski.
Paucek holds a BA from the George Washington University and an MBA from the 2U-powered MBA@UNC program at the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School.