Tutorspree has been quiet of late, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still plugging away on its mission to make high-quality, local tutors in any subject accessible to any student — or finding continued interest from investors along the way. According to its Form D filing with SEC, Tutorspree recently closed on a new round of financing that appears to add an additional $1.9 million to its coffers. Co-founder Aaron Harris tells us that, in fact, the startup has closed on a new $800K in financing.
According to Harris, the new round was led by Mike Hirschland at Resolute.VC and includes participation from Tutorspree’s existing investors, and will actually bring the startup’s total capital to around $1.8 million. Tutorspree raised $1 million in December 2011 from an impressive list of investors, which includes Sequoia Capital, Founder Collective, Lerer Ventures, SV Angel, Thrive Capital, Paul Buchheit, Geoff Ralston, Tim Brady, Alexis Ohanian and Adam d’Angelo — to name a few.
For those unfamiliar, the Y Combinator grad wants to disrupt incumbents and tutoring giants like Sylvan Learning by providing students of all ages with a way to find high-quality private tutors online without having to turn to Craigslist or costly private networks. Since launching in 2011, Tutorspree has recruited over 7,000 tutors across the country. After privately screening each tutor (including a background check), tutors can create profiles to describe their credentials and experience, where students can also rate them based on their experience.
Students and parents can then visit the startup’s homepage and enter their ZIP code to view a list of tutors in their area. Tutorspree has also developed a proprietary matching system, which it uses to not only pair students with the best tutors close by, but to ensure that they’re matched with teachers based on their particular search criterion, background and tutoring needs.
If users find a tutor they’re interested in working with, they can fill out the startup’s online form to begin the process, working with the startup’s representatives to set up appointments and process payments. In spite of the growth of purely online classes, these tutoring sessions happen live, one-on-one, in 3D. The benefit for tutors, on the other hand, is that Tutorspree takes care of scheduling and payment processing so they can just focus on their business and the education at hand.
While Tutorspree continues to grow its national networks of tutors, the increased interest in online education over the past two years means that Tutorspree is far from being without competition in this space. Music lessons marketplace TakeLessons recently announced that it will be expanding its scope beyond music to a variety of subjects. TakeLessons is already operating a significant national (yet local) network itself and is based on a similar model, which will likely put pressure on Tutorspree down the road as it expands into similar territories.
Furthermore, Tutor.com now has the financial backing (and resources) of IAC to help accelerate its traction in this space, and Tutorspree also (to some degree) will have to contend with the rapid growth of project-based and collaborative online education platforms like Skillshare and study aids and “digital backpacks” like the fast-growing StudyBlue, WyzAnt — and the continuously evolving Chegg.
Nonetheless, Harris sees all the activity happening in this market and is encouraged by all the changes that are happening in tutoring, local marketplaces and the way people and software interact in service-based relationships. The co-founders aren’t saying much more about what’s ahead at the moment, but expect that to change in the next couple of months.
For now, the startup will use its new capital to build out its growth and engineering teams and continue to recruit new, quality tutors. More to come.