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Edtech Startup Tutora Share Their Story
by Startacus Admin
It has often been said that the best way to come up with a great idea for a business is to think of a problem and create a solution for it! This questionable mantra has often led to the creation of some rather amusing, though essentially useless inventions… but not in this case!
The guys at Tutora have put their heads together and come up with an online platform and marketplace where parents can easily and seamlessly assess and book local tutors for their kids.
A very simple idea, but one that is just dripping with good old fashioned common sense. What’s more it falls rather nicely and neatly into the ‘edtech’ craze which is sweeping the world of startups at present.
Tutora co-founder Mark Hughes completes a self interview about the platform, and their journey to create it!
Where did the inspiration for Tutora come from?
For parents looking for a little bit of extra help for their children, finding a good tutor is remarkably hard. All too often they have to trawl through online forums or rely on recommendations from friends, with no guarantee that their tutor will be any good. After chatting with my co-founder Scott, a full time private tutor, we realised there must be a better way.
We both left our jobs in 2015 to focus full-time on building Tutora, and so far have been enjoying every minute of it!
How is Tutora different from traditional tutoring agencies?
The goal with Tutora was to make the entire process of booking a tutor as seamless and simple as possible. We use sophisticated algorithms to match you with great local tutors. When you have found someone you like the look of, booking a lesson is as easy as clicking a button. Payments are all handled automatically behind the scenes.
Ultimately we are looking to build a platform that take a lot of the guesswork about finding a tutor. All our tutors are thoroughly interviewed and background checked, so you won’t find any ‘duds’. Clients can also leave feedback for other parents and students.
Any other features in the works?
There are so many potential ways for technology to improve the tutoring process. We’re currently working on a tracking system - a way for tutors to keep parents informed on the progress of their child over time. We also have ambitions to allow tutors to give lessons online, though that is some way ahead of us.
Alongside big feature improvements we are constantly tweaking and improving the site as we find out what works and what doesn’t. It’s a constant work-in-progress.
Where do you operate at the moment? Any expansion plans?
From our base in Sheffield we are currently serving the Yorkshire area but have plans to expand to other cities in the North of England over the coming months. After that….who knows!
What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting their own business?
There will always be reasons (often very good ones) for delaying starting your own business. We had them all: comfy jobs, not enough money, personal commitments. Ultimately, you just have to take a leap of faith and start.
Don’t expect it to be easy though. When entrepreneurs tell you that starting a business is not a 9-to-5 job they are talking from personal experience. If your business involves interacting with customers then expect to be on call every waking hour. Emotionally it is also draining. When things go wrong (and they often do), then you are the one that needs to be on call.
A final bit of advice - successful businesses are not built overnight. Getting our first client took weeks. But with enough hard work, what started as a trickle has turned into a steady stream of customers.
Thanks for the chat Mark!
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If you are creating or thinking of creating an online platform of your own, you might like to take a look at some of this relevant information;
Mi-IDEA Manchester Networking Event
27th Sep 2016
The teams from CISCO and Manchester Science Partnerships have teamed up to create Mi-IDEA, a post-accelerator designed to foster and nurture digital innovation in the North West of England.