How This One Tutoring Company Got It Right

With summer coming to a close and another school year beginning, we can’t help but focus our attention back on the EdTech space. This niche industry has been booming in the last year, with major players like Chegg, Course Hero, and Quizlet all making headlines. The relatively unknown Studypool, however, is making big breakthroughs and is quickly getting the reputation amongst students of having the best Q&A tutoring service, something the platform refers to as “microtutoring.” 

For those unfamiliar with Studypool, the site has created ongoing buzz across college campuses for helping students digitally connect with tutors around the world. Since its launch in 2015, the platform has seen steady gains and now boasts over 3.1 million users who use it as an academic resource. Most impressive, however, is that this growth is completely organic. Eivind Gronn, co-founder and head of product, stresses that the strategy is to focus on quality above all else. “Online tutoring itself isn’t a novel idea. Many have tried to do it, but many have also failed. The problem is, those who have failed didn’t put enough emphasis on quality. At Studypool, we put all our effort into that one objective, and everything else seems to fall into place.”

The strategy is simple: “Create a really great service that students love, and, surely, growth will follow just through word of mouth.” To do so, Gronn developed an extensive application and vetting process so that only the most qualified academics can consult students. Factors considered include Alma Mater, fluency, standardized test scores, and a written test. Each time a question is posted, Studypool’s algorithm identifies and recommends the best tutors to fit the student’s needs. “What follows is retention and loyalty. It’s been really rewarding to hear from students who tell us that, when it comes to tutoring, they’ve tried other platforms like Chegg, but they like us best.”

So what makes Studypool’s tutoring so special? Gronn explains, “We’ve perfected the experience from a student’s point of view. We take everything into consideration and have designed a product students really love. We’ve got it down to a science now, but, simply put, we make sure our tutors are really good.” Certainly, this effort has paid off, as Studypool has a 95% satisfaction rate.

In the last year, Studypool claims to have seen over 50 million site engagements, a number that is expected to double in 2020 as the platform expands its offerings to include more subject categories. “With our extensive network of tutors, we’re able to cover any question a student asks,” says Gronn. Studypool tracks data on what categories students’ questions fall under, which helps identify opportunities to develop new, more specific subjects. “We used to have a broader Health and Medical category where many students posted nursing-related questions. Now, we’ve broken out Nursing as its own category with specialized tutors, and it’s one of the fastest-growing categories.” These efforts are expected to not only attract new students to the platform but also accelerate LTV for its existing customers.

As Studypool continues to carve out its niche in the EdTech industry, rumor has it that several companies in the space have reached out with acquisition interest. Given its strong growth, it will be interesting to see if Gronn and his team decide to pursue these opportunities. Alternatively, Studypool, which has only raised $2.5 Million in a seed round, may choose to raise capital and stick to driving growth on its own.

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