The popular source for renting and organizing textbook systems for universities and its students has just built a parent company with an even broader focus.
Formally just the entity known as BookRenter, Mehdi Maghsoodnia and his team built an umbrella company that serves as a campus-wide tool for educators and administrators that wish to manage all facets of their educational materials -- from the network houses a complete set of cloud-based supply to pricing, commerce and loyalty services. This new parent company is being called Rafter.
"Most universities have not had a single platform partner that was end-to-end for course material," Maghsoodnia, CEO of Rafter, told me in an interview. ““College administrators are working hard to address the affordability, accessibility and effectiveness of course materials while managing the ever-increasing complexity and we had to tools to create just the right platform.”
BookRenter has become major platform for more than 500 colleges across the country to help students save on course material expenses and help administrators keep accurate track of inventory. The industry of higher education is a $450 billion market and $10 billion are spent on textbooks alone within the US each year. But Maghsoodnia told me that many schools are still using pen and paper or simple Excel documents to track these pricey books which is far outdated for the heft of inventory they are dealing with.
Rafter, through the Rafter Network, will provide tools that the schools need to give students improved access to educational content at better prices while building transparent, supplier-and-content neutral tools to assure universities aren't loosing material or money.
While many may think that course materials are simply just textbooks, now there are more tablets, computers, high-end calculators and medical supplies that need to be tracked. This makes the school inventory system not so disparate from a hospital or pharmacy, except that fewer schools have the platforms to organize so many individual parts.
The San Mateo-based company has already raised more than $90 million to help students save more than $170 million in course material and now wants to get schools the tools they need to save and organize properly. And the digital book revolution only makes this system more exciting since many school loose revenue by linking to companies with the resources to offer such e-book material but streamlining their platform and organization can help them recapture those students and that material.
While BookRenter will continue to exist as a part of the larger Rafter system, Maghsoodnia wanted to make sure that current and future University customers understood that they were experts in more than just saving money on books.
"Building this book rental system immersed us into the details and tools needed to track so many items, facts and figures," Maghsoodnia said. "And now we can bring our scalable solutions to every University."