Sometimes classrooms just won’t do it. Modern research is showing how different students learn in vastly different ways and there are times when you simply need a tutor to help you retain knowledge. But what can you do the night before a test? Gooroo, the on-demand tutor app connects you with tutors on the spot who are experts, inexpensive and, have the winning attitude to help you learn whatever you want, whenever you want it. The days of looking in the library for flyers with a tutor’s phone number are over and all you need to do is download the Gooroo mobile app.
Today we sit down with CEO and cofounder Scott Lee about the growing need for Gooroo as well as their expansion plans.
Tell us about the product or service
Gooroo is basically Uber for tutors. Within minutes, the app allows students to scroll through, book, and meet a tutor for almost every subject. It’s a one-stop-shop that takes out the tiresome and expensive middleman of a tutoring company. We feature hundreds of vetted and Ivy League tutors, all of whom are experienced and readily available for last minute needs. Whether it be college test prep, foreign language study, or learning computer skills, Gooroo tutors are there to help. Our mission is to provide a platform where people can learn and develop skills in which they are interested without any hassle or unreasonable cost.
How is it different?
Tutoring has gotten kind of a bad rep over the years. People view it as a slow process, or something only rich people can afford, or that it doesn’t make a difference. We’ve developed Gooroo to fix all of the pains of hiring a traditional tutor and to change the way tutoring is seen and used by students. First, we are on-demand. That sets us apart in and of itself because currently, the only options to find a tutor are to either sift through fliers at school or to go through an old-school service. We’ve compiled everything you need at your fingertips. Second, our prices are significantly lower than most, with sessions starting at just $20. And it’s because we don’t charge any hidden or unnecessary fees. Tutoring doesn’t have to be a crazy investment or a long term commitment, so why make it? Finally, our service is truly aimed to personalize learning and supplement the knowledge and interests you already have. We have two-year-olds learning Spanish, high school students getting help with college applications, and even foreign doctors brushing up on their English skills. Some book a session for a one time use and some use it as a tool to learn a new skill. But all are booked in the most modern way possible.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
Although our primary target is students K-12 and college, we provide help to anyone who wants to learn, regardless of age or education level. The global private tutoring market is forecasted to reach $196 billion by 2020 and we intend to tackle this market head on (first in New York, and then all over the world). As a mobile app, our reach is virtually endless.
What is the business model?
Eventually, we hope to see Gooroo grow into a learning platform for markets surpassing education, but our business model will remain simple: Find and vet the best tutors and connect them to people who need these tutors.
What inspired the business?
While working as a tutor during college, I noticed that some sessions were hard to complete, which was frustrating because tutoring can be a great source of income. I didn’t always know where to look to find students to tutor outside of my immediate friend group or classes. Also, I didn’t have time to create and post fliers to advertise the subjects for which I was able to tutor. So, I created Gooroo.
This space has been attacked by many companies (Tutorspree, Tutors.com, Tutor matching service). How will you win?
We want our tutors and students to succeed so we take significantly less commission, therefore allowing tutors to charge less. I take pride in the quality of our tutors and make a point to go beyond just a background check. I meet almost every tutor that works through Gooroo and let them know the overall vision I have for changing the tutoring business. I recognize that as we scale, especially into markets outside of education, that I won’t be able to meet every tutor, but the Gooroo standards will be continue to be ingrained in the company.
What are the milestones you want to achieve within six months?
We’re constantly seeking to gain more users and tutors, but our next milestones are to integrate video tutoring sessions, to raise a series A, and launch in South Korea.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
Building an excellent app is much harder than you’d think. I underestimated how much of the programming I would need to know. I learned Swift (through a tutor!) to better understand what my programmers were building from scratch.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community, who would it be and why?
Kevin O’Leary. His advice and comments on Shark Tank are very practical and I admire the straightforwardness he has.
Why did you launch in New York?
New York is a hub for all things tech, education, and innovation. We have access to top students, teachers, and an international population and we want to bring them all together to share their skills and talents. As a Columbia grad myself, I have experienced first hand just how smart and talented this city is and I wanted to help spread that knowledge. That’s how I came up with our trademark, “Share your talents, Gain a few more.”
What’s your favorite rooftop bar in NYC to unwind?
I enjoy going to Koreatown for a fun night out, usually with the Gooroo team. I do not recommend sticking around for my karaoke skills.