Popular online tutor service InstaEDU now allows students to choose particular tutors in advance and schedule future sessions. The company, which launched in public beta this past May, previously only offered on-demand tutoring.
CEO and cofounder Alison Johnston tells me the expanded services stem from feedback the company has received from students. Students had sessions with tutors they liked and wanted to follow up with another session, schedule tutoring before their next test or assignment and plan ahead to find a tutor that perfectly fits their needs.
The company made its name by filling students’ needs for on-demand tutoring, and by allowing users search for a tutor from a top college and get help on video chat immediately.
“We take a lot of pride in being able to help students the moment they run into challenges, but all research shows that building student/teacher relationships is also incredibly important,” Johnston said. “After having an on-demand lesson with one of our experts, a lot of students asked us for a way to continue working together, so we’re excited to make that ongoing academic relationship possible.”
The company is offering lower prices along with the scheduled appointments; they currently charge 50¢/minute ($30/hour), but will charge $22/hour for “students who’d like regular academic support.” Johnston tells me keeping prices low has always been a priority for InstaEDU, comparing the company’s $22/hr rate to more expensive private tutors.
Johnston says the company, which has raised a seed round led by The Social+Capital Partnership, is excited to become a player in the online learning space, as Coursera and others grow in the next five years. She says they aim to be the “virtual TA” for online courses to replace the loss of personal touch in big online classes.