Home > Notes > Shai Reshef – University Of The People

Shai Reshef – University Of The People

Shai Reshef is the Founder & President of University of the People, and the Chairman of the Board for Cramster.com.

Here are the notes.


  • Shai Reshef studied Chinese Politics at the University of Michigan

Kidum Group

  • Kidum Group started as an Israeli scholastic test preparation company
  • Shai joined Kidum Group in 1989 which provided prep classes for standardized testing, he had no business background.
  • He started out as a worker with small shares in the company and worked his way up
  • He lucked up because he was surrounded by brilliant people and his risks paid off big time
  • They sent out sales people to high schools and convinced them that the course would dramatically increase the college success rate
  • They started recruiting students and schools before they had teachers and facilities. The high schools allowed them to use their facilities
  • Once they secured their customer base, they trained university students to be instructors because they already knew the material
  • Kidum Group sold to Kaplan in 2005. By that time Shai Reshef owned 100 percent of the company and they were making $25 million per year


  • Cramster.com is a social networking site where students tutor other students
  • Shai wanted to get back into the education business so he began to search for opportunities through an investment banker
  • He liked the company’s mission and purpose so he bought it and raised $3 million
  • He realized that free help on the internet was the new phenomena so University of the People was formed January 2009

University of the People

  • University of the People is the world’s first tuition-free, online academic institution dedicated to the global advancement and democratization of higher education
  • It is based on volunteers. When it was announced more than 800 professors signed on to teach for free
  • The online university is tuition free. Students only pay a processing fee ($10-$50) and a course fee of ($10-$100)
  • This small fee allows the company to be sustainable with only 15,000 students
  • They currently have 400 different students from 80 different countries and 100’s of thousands per month receive free tutoring
  • They get publicity form blogs, articles, and current students

How They Found A Market

  • Be in touch with customers. See what they really want and what they are willing to pay and what they are not, and what they are complaining about
  • Ask students questions and get feedback at different times (beginning of course, middle and the end)
  • Most important question: Would you recommend this to your peers?

Tips for Success

  • When you give, you get more back.”
  • Be afraid of what will go wrong and be prepared for the worst thing that can happen.”
  • Believe in what you are selling.”
  • Find the right market, the right people to work with, know how to manage people and you must have a great product.”
  • When you get enough then start giving.”

Side Notes

  • Shai feels he lucked into business, and all of his success
  • He chose to partner with the founder of Cramster because he was honest about the reason he was late for their first meeting (he had forgotten his belt)
  • Shai was named one of the most creative people in business for 2009 by Fast Company

Connect With Shai

University of the People


  1. Aubrey
    March 5, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    I’m loving the site!!! Keep it up guys!

  2. The Natural Born Leader
    March 12, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Impressive, good to see people giving back…How much is this guy worth?

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