Y Combinator-Backed Cambly Offers On-Demand Access To Language Tutors On iPad, iPhone, And Desktop

There’s no better way to learn a language than by talking with a native speaker. But let’s face it — it’s not always easy to find or connect with them. Cambly solves that problem by creating an on-demand marketplace of native English and Spanish tutors that students can instantly connect with online or through their mobile phones or tablets.

Cambly provides a two-sided platform through which those interested in learning a new language can do so through conversational video chat with a native speaker. Thanks to the beauty of its mobile and tablet apps, students can access personal tutors wherever and whenever, with just one click.

Users can sign in with Facebook connect or with an email address. Once that’s done, the company provides a single button for instantly connecting with a native speaker. Or, students can look through the list of tutors that are available at a given time.

Not only does Cambly provide the benefit of providing on-demand access to tutors, but it is also fairly affordable, charging students just $20 an hour to speak with them.

Cambly appOn the tutor side of things, Cambly offers up the flexibility to let native speakers make some extra money in their spare time by chatting with students. The company pre-vets all tutors who end up on the platform, but it’s not necessarily looking for professional teachers — instead, it believes that connecting students with friendly native speakers in an informal environment is much more effective for learning a language.

And since no formal training is required, it’s turning the ability to speak a language natively into a marketable skill by providing the connective layer between students and teachers. It pays more than half the money it collects to tutors, and the more time they spend on the platform, the more money they can make.

Cambly has tutors all over the world, which means it can support on-demand connections whenever and wherever students might want to connect, 24 hours a day. Thanks to that flexibility, it’s seen demand from students in 90 different countries, with its largest markets being Brazil, Turkey, and Russia.

The startup was founded by Kevin Law and Sameer Shariff, two ex-Googlers who had also worked at messaging platform blip.me. The founders decided to launch the company after realizing that their own language skills massively improved after traveling and talking with native speakers. So they set out to create a way where those speakers could become instantly available.