Tutor House, a U.K.-based startup that operates a marketplace to let parents find an online or in-person tutor for their children, has raised £2 million in funding.
Backing the round, the first for the young company, is Fuel Ventures, the London-based VC and startup builder set up by Mark Pearson of MyVoucherCodes fame. Fuel Ventures recently closed its third fund of £20 million to continue investing in early-stage B2B and B2C marketplaces, platforms and SaaS.
Founded by ex-teacher Alex Dyer in 2012 — and self-funded until now — Tutor House connects parents and families with tutors either in-person or online. The site enables families to search for tutors across an array of subjects and academic levels, and now claims to be the U.K.’s leading tutoring agency offering private home or remote tuition for all primary, GCSE, A-level and university subjects.
“The large number of teachers leaving their profession in addition to ever-increasing class sizes mean that the market for private tutoring has expanded significantly,” former psychology teacher and now Tutor House CEO Dyer tells me. “In order to improve the quality of each student’s academic experience, our tutors provide personalised learning plans that will help to boost grades and give learners the best chance of success.”
In addition, Dyer says that Tutor House is the only tutoring platform that interviews all tutors and ensures that they have a full DBS check before going live on the platform. (Update: by “full,” Dyer means a basic DBS check, although he says the startup does strongly encourage tutors to have an enhanced DBS check and notes that some tutor services require no DBS check at all).
“In an unregulated industry this is very important,” he adds. “We are dedicated to providing each and every student with the best level of service possible.”
Typical Tutor House customers fall into four groups. The first is hands-on parents who want the best for their child regardless of price. The second is parents who see education as important but may have to ask relatives for help with costs. The third is students who can’t access education in a mainstream school due to anxiety or other SEN-related issues. “These students often need to retake A-level or GCSE exams due to poor teaching/no teacher,” says Dyer. The final group is university students and adult learners who are investing in their future by taking learning into their own hands.
A classic marketplace play, Tutor House charges tutors a 20% commission fee for every booking. However, if a tutor books more than 20 hours a month, the commission is reduced. “We also offer A-level and pre-U retake courses, in addition to residential courses and homeschooling,” explains Dyer.
Meanwhile, Tutor House says it will use the investment from Fuel Ventures to expand into other countries, and to create a bespoke school in London for students who need intensive tutoring for exam retakes.