Tutorfair: For Every Student who Pays, they give Free Tutoring to a Child Who Can’t

It often gets difficult for parents to find the right tutor for their children. Knowing that the children get influenced a lot by the people they learn from, parents get more concerned about the person they assign to teach their child. Checking the authentication of the qualifications, the tutor’s way of teaching and the success he achieved in his past assignments are few of the complicated procedures a parent has to go through.

With the vision to simplify the process of finding the most appropriate tutor for the students, Tutorfair was founded by Andrew Ground. Today, Tutorfair has over 40,000 tutors registered and over a million visits a year to their website. Andrew and his team have built a socially responsible tutoring business by facing up to feedback and creating experiences which their users recommend to their friends.

Tutorfair: Giving Every Student Fair Access to Excellent Tutors

Tutorfair was launched by Andrew Ground, Mark Maclaine, Edd Stockwell, and Patrick Verdon in 2012 and is based in London, United Kingdom.

Tutorfair offers professional development opportunities through tutor training, volunteering, and observation. Students can look for tutors by subject, and browse their profiles to view their videos. Registered users can make their own shortlist, book tutors and message them.

They offer Paid Tutoring, where a small donation is made to the Tutorfair Foundation with each lesson purchased through Tutorfair; Professional Training, where some of the most experienced tutors in London=share their best practices; Volunteer Programs, where tutors work with inner-city students in small group tutoring or university application workshops.

Andrew Ground: Finding Solutions for the Real Life Problems

As with every good idea it started with a problem, the story of Tutorfair began when Andrew Ground, CEO and Co founder of Tutorfair, started to find a tutor for his son. Andrew had just finished being CCO at LOVEFILM (the Netflix of Europe), which had sold to Amazon. At LOVEFILM Andrew had helped create an incredible product that could help users pinpoint the ideal film to watch next.

Andrew found it surprisingly difficult to find a tutor for his son. He realized that his need for a tutor was a similar informational need to his previous product, and one that the web would be perfect to solve; and he cared much more about helping his child succeed, than he did about what to watch next.

“One For One” Promise

After a little research, Andrew realized that he was not alone in this journey. Both the Americans and Germans had already established tutor marketplaces. He presented the idea to an early investor who suggested the “one for one” promise; for every student who pays they would give tutoring to a child who can’t. This was a big idea that could transform the way people saw the tutoring business; it attracted a team who wanted to make waves within education, and formed their name “Tutorfair”.

Overcoming the Hurdles

Andrew and his team set out to create a Minimal Viable Product (MVP), but it took a lot of troubles to make it viable.  Their  MVP was launched in January 2013 but it certainly was not viable, not even close. The team manually signed up tutors by showing them mock-ups on paper of what the website would look like, and set up volunteering projects in local schools. Their friends soon found out about what they were up to, and put in their tutoring requests. They would call up the tutors to arrange the lessons and send an invoice. They had a business, a community of tutors, a brand and a clunky website. It was a thrill for the team to see a few users trickle through and use the site – but 80% of their business was offline.

Andrew took this as validation of the concept, and raised £150k to employ a full-time developer to fix the product. Having an in-house developer sped up the entire process, they tackled even the worst bugs and became confident adding in features that were initially left out. They began to feel good about the progress they were making.

Easy way for Tutors to reach Students

For tutors, Tutorfair is free to join – they set their own hourly rate and the subjects they want to teach with subjects ranging from English, Maths and Science to chess, music and drama. Tutorfair charges a variable rate of commission on top of their hourly rate depending on the number of Tutorfair hours they have completed.

The Tutorfair Foundation arranges for tutors to go into inner-city London schools, helping children who otherwise would not be able to afford tutoring.

What started as one man’s overreaction to the problem of finding tutoring for his own children is today helping thousands of parents find their own tutors. They have given thousands of students access to free tuition and inspired many of the UK’s top tutors to join the Tutorfair community.

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