Founder’s Five is a continuing series from Tyton Partners that invites education company founders to shed light on their own success and illuminate the landscape for other education entrepreneurs and investors by answering five basic questions.
Myles Hunter co-founded TutorMe in 2015 along with USC classmate Alex Convery and technical co-founder Victor Kotseruba, with the goal of leveraging technology to improve access to high-quality tutoring.
TutorMe provides individualized services, 24/7, to more than 1.5 million students in over 300 subjects (from high school algebra to Python coding). The company works through K-12 school districts, higher education institutions, employers, and non-profits to bridge learning gaps, increase educational equity, and improve student outcomes. It also offers a WritingLab to offer quick and detailed feedback on essays.
The on-demand platform mirrors a one-on-one, in-person tutoring session with live video and voice functionality, a virtual whiteboard, a text editor, code editor, and the ability to share screenshots of homework problems for review.
In June 2022, the company was purchased by K-12 learning platform provider, GoGuardian.
What is your company’s origin story?
TutorMe was built on the premise that no student should ever feel alone in their learning journey—a feeling that I experienced personally. Growing up in Southern California, I bounced between schools—homeschool, private, public, and military schools—throughout my K-12 education. Each time I switched schools, I had to totally reset and work extra hard to stay on pace. Meanwhile, many of my peers had access to private tutors—I didn’t. I know now that this struggle is shared by so many other kids around the country.
While attending the University of Southern California, I was determined to create a pathway for all students to have access to one-on-one, individualized support. I was fortunate to partner with two co-founders who were equally passionate about solving this problem, and we quickly got to work building TutorMe. We partnered with our first customer in 2016, and our list of university and college partners quickly grew to the hundreds.
Beginning in 2020, the overnight disruption to K-12 schools during the COVID-19 pandemic captured our hearts and minds. Since 2020, we’ve grown and positioned our business to reach even more K-12 students who need one-on-one, on-demand academic support.
How will the market be changed by your company’s success?
Just a few years ago, tutoring was inaccessible to the most disenfranchised students. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a catalyst for changing that: one-on-one device access went from about two-thirds pre-pandemic to 90% post-pandemic. That was a game changer.
At TutorMe, we’re in a unique position to help students and educators fully leverage this increase in technology.
We have an unprecedented opportunity at this moment to create a truly equitable playing field for all students.”
And high-impact tutoring through TutorMe is the next step to ensuring ALL students receive the various levels of support needed to continue learning and growing amid learning gaps, staffing shortages, and other challenges.
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you began?
The importance of working hand-in-hand with different stakeholder groups, driving toward the same goals cannot be overstated. To ensure a successful implementation, it’s critical our team engages, collaborates, and partners with teachers and school staff to ensure a strong implementation that aligns with each school’s unique goals and unique student populations.
We recognize teachers have so much on their plates and that it’s nearly impossible to expect teachers to provide one-on-one support simultaneously to the 20–25 students in their classrooms. TutorMe supplements the important work teachers do each day with high impact tutoring to ensure each student feels comfortable and confident in their abilities.
What non-intuitive insight have you gained through this work?
When we built TutorMe, we set out to improve students’ academic performance. We wanted to make sure every student had a place to turn when they needed help studying for their next test or needed a little more guidance to turn a homework assignment in on time. What I’ve learned in the last seven years, though, is that what we’re doing at TutorMe is about so much more than academic performance—it’s about connection.
When schools partner with TutorMe, they’re equipping their students with on-demand tutors who can help them to understand and achieve academically. But they’re also empowering their students with human connection and support. Sometimes, students just need someone in their corner to cheer them on and remind them: “You can do this. I’m here for you.” The TutorMe community of tutors is exactly that for more than a million students. Filling that void of human connection for so many students is an honor and a privilege that our team takes seriously.
What other education company besides your own do you wish you had started?
I have deep admiration for a number of companies in the education space, but there’s honestly nothing else I’d rather be doing. Earlier this year, we joined the GoGuardian family to better support students throughout their academic careers. We believe no student—like me years ago—should feel lost or alone.
My lifetime of experiences has led me on a path toward creating a tutoring solution to make learning personal and attainable for all. I firmly believe that there’s no greater way that I can impact students than the work we’re doing together at TutorMe and GoGuardian.
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