Share Your Start-Up Story – Tutoring with ‘Tutora’
Tutora is an online marketplace helping students and parents find the best local tutors for one-to-one tuition in their own homes.
Users simply search by subject and postcode, read reviews left by each tutors’ previous students then send a message to their chosen tutors to book lessons.
Scott Woodley discovered Tutora, with his friend Mark Hughes, while working as a Primary School teacher in Sheffield.
Both co-founders, aged 30, recently saw their two-man startup raise £150k within 4 days of launching their crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube – The first for an EdTech company.
More About Tutora’s crowdfunding success.
The raise went through in just four days on the Crowdcube site, which is a record for an EdTech company raising through their platform.
We were obviously delighted, because it’s going to allow us to spread the business more rapidly, build out new features and, ultimately, match more students and tutors.
Tutors love our site because we help them to find new students quickly. They can manage their tuition business through our platform and we offer them as much flexibility as possible, so they can fit their work around other commitments.
I came up with the idea for Tutora whilst working as a Primary School Teacher in Sheffield. I was often asked to recommend tutors, but didn’t know where to look, so took on my first few tutees.
I loved helping the children learn, but became frustrated with everything that surrounded the job. I decided to leave teaching and set up as a professional tutor.
The tuition requests came flooding in, so I knew that there was a real problem, which needed solving.
I contacted Mark, a long-time friend who was working as a Technology Analyst in Edinburgh and Tutora was the result.
We want to help parents find the right tutor for their children and make sure that they get to learn as quickly as possible. We only launched in August 2015, but now cover most of the country, which is testament to the problem parents were facing and we’re solving it for them.
Why Your Own Business?
We wanted to create a really slick user experience and create a clean, friendly site, which helps everyone. I was a teacher then a tutor, so I understand the needs of both parents and our tutors.
It’s been a great challenge, trying to design a site which everyone loves. Mark’s background is in tech and he loves thinking about how to implement the best solutions with the latest technology.
Working on this is a great match for our skill sets. Also, we enjoy working together. We’ve been friends since we were fourteen as we went to same school and used to hangout during the Summer.
I was always round at Mark’s house and we were always coming up with crazy business ideas, so it’s amazing to now be really working on something that’s grown to be so popular.
Our aim is to help as many parents as possible. It’s an incredible feeling to know that so many young people are having lessons because of the work we do. It motivates us to keep going and improve the site.
Ultimately, we want to become the place to find a tutor. Parents shouldn’t be struggling to find a good tutor as there are lots out there.
We’re currently bringing new tutors on to the site from across the country, so we can help parents in every town and city. We’re also building our team here in Sheffield, which is really exciting.
As for the site itself, there are so many new features we’re planning on launching.
We speak to parents and tutors every day, to find out what they like and any difficulties they still face, and this allows us to continually innovate. I think that’s crucial to any business.
Even as we grow, we want to hold on to that culture we’ve developed, in which our students and tutors know us by name and feel happy to give us a call.