Any companies that have recognized universities as an early customers?

Any notable examples of the companies that has recognized universities as an early customers?
Box comes in mind, adapting bottom-up strategy department-wise
Another example is Apple and Macintosh success on university campuses. Mainly driven by discounts for the students, but still requires direct sales to the university.


And as a follow-up, what are the things you need to consider while selling product to US universities?


Very field specific but ESRI - they are a mammoth in the field of geospatial software. They basically give away their software to all students, teachers, and researchers, which meant that anyone coming out of university with a degree in geospatial knew how to use their software and no other.

Adobe did something very similar with Photoshop too. – For both of these, they recognized students would be future customers but would never be current customers (students have no money). Eventually teachers started teaching the product because it was free to their students (and themselves) and once they have courses made, the universities were more or less invested in having licenses.


@Naomi, thanks for sharing. I wasn’t aware of the ESRI case, which totally make sense for their very domain-driven business.
Giving product with a huge student discount, is used to be popular on business media publishers as well (HBR, Economist) as they recognized students as a future readers.


Guild education comes to mind but it probably depends on what you mean by recognized. They have been doing some very aggressive campus campaigns and giving away freebies in their early days to lure the student lot.


Some of the top notch companies that started and succeeded very largely at the universities of America can be counted on fingertips:

  1. Google
  2. Facebook
  3. Time Magazine
  4. Snapchat
  5. Reddit
  6. FedEx
  7. WordPress
  8. Adobe
  9. Apple Mac
  10. Amazon

These might not be in the order of their success but I’m sure that these have paved their way to success mainly due to the university students. Please correct me if I’m wrong.


Qualtrics also famously grew via selling to universities early on. Also most of Zimride’s early customers were colleges/universities.

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Airtable has an Education discount, because they want college students to take their product into the companies they end up at