Why I set up PledgeNotes

On the problem student note-sellers face, our solution and value proposition.

Note: A different version of this blog post was initially published in January 2017 on the PledgeNotes website, which was taken down in August 2017.

I’m a student, studying Business & Economics — and I wanted to sell my study notes. My research into other note-selling platforms left me dissatisfied as they seemed to ignore a clear flaw in the system: there’s nothing to stop the first buyer who downloads the notes (immediately) from passing them on to all their friends for free.

Almost two years ago, towards the end of my first year in university, I saw this problem first hand, where a seller posted in our course Facebook group, sold the notes to a few individuals, and then ultimately the notes got passed on until practically everyone had access to them. The seller could only hope that a decent number would order them and pay before this occurred.

Last year, the problem became even more explicit: one of the original buyers even went so far as to undercut the original seller:

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“Why I set up PledgeNotes?” Quite simply, to meet my needs as a seller. What I like about PledgeNotes is that it offers value to our users, both sellers and buyers alike. For sellers, we hope this is very apparent. Our crowdfunding system ensures that sellers achieve a minimum number of sales before releasing their notes — thus making note-selling worthwhile.

For buyers, the benefits are threefold. Firstly, we ensure that our marketplace is full of sellers of the highest quality. Each seller must have obtained at least a 2.1 grade (high second class honors or equivalent) in the subject they are selling notes in. Secondly, we ensure that the notes are set at a fair price and that the buyer does not have to pay more than they should. This is also helped by the fact that we match sellers with multiple buyers — thus driving down the price. Thirdly, and most importantly, by making note-selling worthwhile, PledgeNotes encourages the sustainable provision of additional academic resources to students who most need help.

Note: I uploaded this blog post to Medium as I wanted to give some background about the idea for those who read my other blog post on PledgeNotes.

Written by

Associate Product Manager @TripAdvisor. Former intern @Shazam & @Skyscanner. Former start-up founder & co-founder at Stageville & PledgeNotes.

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