Anyone who has tutored or has been tutored has experienced all the disorganization that surrounds a fairly simple process. The problem is that since you never know when you need a tutor and tutors aren’t waiting for you to randomly need their service, it can be tough to set up a tutor session at the drop of a hat. Book&Table is helping you say goodbye to this issue. With their on-demand tutoring service, you simply find a nearby tutor, book a session and then become amazed with the results. On top of this, with all of their tutors being pre approved you’ll never have to deal with wasting your precious time on a failed session.
We spoke with the CEO Maurice Wright about the young company and about his intricate system to ensure honest tutors.
Tell us about the product or service.
Book&Table is a marketplace for tutors, by tutors. Parents and students use Book&Table to find, learn more about as well as book local tutors for in-person lessons.
Tutors use Book&Table to grow their business with other local professionals in a fair way. They receive leads through the website and app organically in addition to direct referrals from their tutor teammates through the platform. All without being charged membership or commission fees!
How is it different?
We are introducing structure and transparency to a very (traditionally) cluttered process. Before a session the parent/student receive a lesson plan detailing the upcoming session and afterwards a lesson synopsis detailing how the student can continue improving. Everyone is on the same page at all times.
Tutors do not pay commission fees on their bookings. Instead we charge a 12% service fee to the client.
Meritocracy: no more arbitrary search pages. Instead, tutors’ accounts are connected to a point system. As tutors complete actions that prove they are active, knowledgeable members of the community they appear higher in search results. These actions include things like completing bookings that receive a 4 or more star review, sending a client referral to a tutor teammate, and inviting friends to join Book&Table.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
Private tutoring. The US market is estimated to be between $10B and $13B.
What is the business model?
Tutor sets rate ($50 for lesson)
+ 12% service fee to new client (~$5)
= Total price for client is $55
*Tutor pays the 3% transaction fee
Tutors can also use Book&Table with existing clients (receive twice as many points per booking, helping them rise in search rankings).
Tutor’s rate: $50 for lesson
Client’s total price: $50
* Book&Table pays tutor’s 3% fee
Tutor refers a client to another tutor:
Tutor receives 300 points for first booking and 25% of the service charged when the new tutor/client pair book lessons together.
New tutor/client pair proceed with business model a above for their bookings.
What inspired the business?
Founder/CEO Maurice Wright was a private tutor running a brick and mortar test prep company in Greenwich, CT, after graduating from Columbia University in 2009. In 2012 he was introduced to Airbnb and realized their unique business model would be attractive to tutors. After investigating a bit further he realized there was no marketplace for in-person tutoring that attempted to enhance the value of an educator rather than control, and thus, diminish it.
Why are tutoring services well suited for the on demand model?
Although the access to educators is on demand tutoring is still very much a long, engaging process. Book&Table is the interface that keeps that engagement structured and transparent.
Before a lesson tutors send their client a Lesson Plan, which details the learning goals, pre-lesson assignment(s), and materials, required for the upcoming session. This tool is also what charges the client for the lesson, assuring the tutor their clients will pay for the lesson on time. The tutor, however, does not receive this payment until they return to Book&Table after the session to send their client a synopsis providing details on the lesson and tips on how to improve. Once the client provides their review the tutor receives points and the cycle is complete.
Book&Table at this point serves as the hub where the tutors have all of their clients’ information neatly organized. All lesson details, feedback, and messaging detailed for all to see.
Parents and students can now use Book&Table between lessons to stay organized and study better.
Moving forward we will continue to add components to the platform that allow students to improve performance, such as content and assessments.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
First of all we’d like to get up to one thousand tutor teams formed as well as one thousand client referrals made. Other than that, launch our Android app.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
Stay focused on the big picture. If the big picture is the same as it was, or even bigger, then the disaster that may surround you at any given moment on any given day won’t matter in the long haul.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
WeWork CEO, Adam Neumann. Our next big transformation will be the introduction of group classes. Collaboration with co-working spaces brings memberships and bookings to spaces, and increased tutoring and learning opportunities to the Book&Table community.
Why did you launch in New York?
The Tri-State has a large and complex tutoring market. You have the local suburbs, each having a unique culture. Local tutors may be teachers from the local schools in one town and retired accountants and librarians in another.
Then the college campuses, most of which have dramatically different settings and thus different commuting and transactional habits.
This mix was the perfect setting for our team to learn from in order for Book&Table to become the best compliment for this massive offline market.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
Miss Lily’s in SoHo. A few advisor and investor meetings have been held over jerk chicken wings.