(Photo by Stephen Babcock)
For school-age kids, tutoring can mean long sessions and big bills for the parents.
To get students easier access to academic help, the team behind Baltimore edtech startup The Given built a platform that lets kids ask for help, and tutors get paid to respond.
On the web-based platform, known as Agora, students post questions for the tutors. The tutor then submits a proposal for time and cost, and students can choose who they want to work with.
“For the tutor, it will not only be better to interact with the students, but they can make a little money,” said cofounder Paul Kang, who recently obtained a JD/MBA at Johns Hopkins University.
— The GIVEN (@TheGIVENgroup) August 10, 2015
There are a couple of formalities on each side. Tutors’ education creds are verified by The Given, and students need to get access to their parents’ credit card before they can pay.
The platform also has a rating system that allows students to provide feedback, Kang said.
Kang and cofounder Ethan Jeong met in the JHU MBA program, and identified the need for better and lower-cost tutoring services. Students’ access to mobile devices led them to identify the web app as a prime way to connect the students and tutors.
The team is currently based out of ETC’s Haven campus, with a team of seven people working on the platform. Rick Ewart, a public school teacher at Oakland Mills High School in Howard County, handles business development, while a group of interns are spearheading marketing efforts. Kang said they have seen some early success on social media through Instagram, and the popular Chinese site, Weibo.
The startup officially launched the platform with a party on Aug. 13 at the ETC. At the event, Kang said the startup will work on further developing the platform, and building mobile apps.