Launched in the Alley: Slader, Your Free Online Study Hall


Let’s face it: homework, is not on anyone’s Top Ten list of things to do. That’s where Slader comes in, turning doing homework into a social – and helpful – experience and instead of passing notes in the library or study hall, high school and college students help each other out online – and now on mobile, too. Here’s what else we learned about the platform from the Slader team.

Kyle Gerrity and Scott Kolb

Tell us about Slader.

Slader is a free online platform and student network for homework collaboration, where high school and college students can work together to help each other learn in a more successful and direct way. The primary goal is to empower students to take control over their academic experience and career by providing an environment where they can collaborate with their peers without feeling patronized or embarrassed for asking for help with their homework. We started in January of 2011 and came out of beta in August of the same year.

How is it different?

All the content on our site is generated by our users, offers users real-time interactivity, and is a free resource that gives students immediate relief from pressing homework problems rather than requiring them to spend additional time with tangential learning materials. Slader does not create the solutions. We encourage our users to write detailed, step-by-step, explanations alongside their work that they are showing.

We are a self-funded startup and currently cash flow positive.

What was the motivation for launching Slader?

Kyle Gerrity and Scott Kolb met while they were in high school in Carlsbad, California. The two took math classes together, where they were introduced to an inspirational teacher who continues to serve as a mentor to Slader, offering a “teacher’s perspective.” The closest form of collaboration Scott and Kyle utilized was faxing homework back-and-forth and swapping their work in the parking lot to exchange help. Surely there was a more efficient way to tap into peer-based academic help!

Kyle went on to Georgetown and earned a degree in History. After graduation, he took a job in finance, working in M&A at Morgan Stanley in Sydney. Scott left school before graduating to work for RushWorks Media, a television automation broadcast company with clients throughout the U.S., Africa and South Asia and later for GMS Asia, a Hong Kong-based commercial real estate development company. Bored and unsatisfied in the corporate world, the two later reconnected around an idea to shake-up education in the U.S.

Both founders realized that the majority of students today are missing the fundamental support to be successful in school, and socioeconomics play a large role in a student’s success and academic achievement. They launched Slader, a new type of student network, to empower all students, giving them a way to take learning into their own hands and shape their own education experience. Today, one million students hit Slader monthly to learn and be successful in school.

What market are you attacking and how big is it?

Our market is high school and early college students who want to take control of their academic careers without being patronized.

  • Today, Slader has solved more than 2 million homework problems for over 5 million students around the world in over 200 countries. We’re on track to reach 20-25% of US high school students by next year.
  • Slader homework solutions are relevant to 90% of the current high school math and science textbooks, and we’re doing the same for the top history and English textbooks.
  • Students are addicted to the site. The average user spends 14 minutes on the site per visit, returning to Slader about 4 times per month.

What is the business model?

Slader’s business model is advertising-based; the site is monetized via ads on webpage inventory, delivering over 20 million pages monthly.  We also have an additional revenue stream by way of a virtual currency system; students purchase virtual currency to encourage users to complete unsolved homework problems.

What are the milestones that your plan to achieve within 6 months?

We plan to bring the humanities verticals out of beta. Our new mobile app has been instrumental in transforming the way high school students complete their math and science homework, and we’re excited to improve upon this success.

In addition to capturing a greater market share, we are committed to providing textbook-agnostic academic help, as well as initiating our test prep platform.

If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community who would it be and why?

We are fortunate to be in a cash-flow positive position and therefore not obligated to look for investors. That being said, we have received valuable business advice and guidance from investors and other industry insiders, and we welcome their guidance. We are always eager to speak with individuals who are committed to and knowledgeable about the high school and college academic space, and user demographics.

Why did you choose New York to launch?

The talent pool and entrepreneurial spirit of New York City attracted us here. The fact that NYC is not a one-industry town is a plus, and that diversity cannot be understated. Plus, I mean, it’s New York City, so c’mon…!

The “edtech” space is hot right now. What else outside of Slader do you like that is going on?

  • More individualized education. We see this happening already, with more and more universities offering online courses and degrees. We believe this trend will continue even more.
  • More education information available online. Students are online more than ever before, interacting with each other socially. Traditional textbook publishers haven’t been able to keep up with a digital education model, thus providing an opportunity for companies like Slader.
  • Quest to build the student platform. No company has successfully created a student-chosen academic platform for high school students. There will be a continuing drive to become the first player in the market to produce this platform. Slader is well-positioned in this regard.

Lastly, what’s next for Slader?

We just launched our mobile app in November and it has been instrumental in transforming the way high school students complete their math and science homework. The student feedback has been great, and we’re excited to improve upon this success. Furthermore, we’re looking forward to bringing our humanities section out of beta, providing textbook-agnostic academic help, as well as initiating our test prep platform. It’s an exciting semester ahead!


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