44. The Profs

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Founders: Dr. Leo Evans, Richard Evans and Rory Curnock Cook
Founded: September 2014
Website: www.theprofs.co.uk

Former lecturer Dr. Leo Evans believed the lecture-based structure of university education didn’t do its learners justice, targeting the average student and leaving those who are less able or more capable feeling isolated and unfulfilled.

To solve this, he teamed up with his brother, professional tutor Richard Evans, and operations manager Rory Curnock Cook to found edtech start-up The Profs, an online platform connecting students with peer-to-peer tutoring services.

Built on the principle that one-to-one teaching is the best way for students to fulfil their potential, The Profs manages a network of over 400 qualified educators – ranked internally by the start-up’s own algorithms – and also offers an online “virtual classroom” in BitPaper.

Using BitPaper’s “collaborative whiteboard”, tutors and students are able to share learning resources and record tutorials. With this innovative online tool The Profs has been able to reach every continent, tutoring students in 52 countries across the globe.

Over 2,000 university students have now signed up to The Profs, along with several hundred school pupils and young professionals. Impressively, BitPaper’s 2016 beta phase alone saw it teach 30,000 hours of classes across the world – the equivalent of three and a half years of teaching. And astonishingly, these hours amassed without The Profs marketing the platform at all.

Having hit a huge £1.1m turnover in 2016, the start-up is projecting over £2m for this year; numbers that reflect the business’ rapid growth, which it has achieved through reinvesting £400,000 income rather than raising any finance.

While The Profs currently serves students already in higher education, it has lofty ambitions to one day replace the lecture-based model with its own peer-to-peer online university.

For now though, the start-up is planning to further its international expansion and launch its own courses. Having launched BitPaper to 30,000 UK tutors through a partnership with Startups 100 alumni Tutor Cruncher, The Profs aims to attract over 10,000 users to the service.

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