Tutorean: Pedro da Cunha

Meet the new platform that uses artificial intelligence to assess personality and learning preferences to match students with their perfect tutor

Name: Pedro da Cunha
Company Name: Tutorean
Location: London
Date Launched: 20/12/17
Twitter handle: @tutorean 
Website: www.tutorean.co.uk

Tell us what your business does:

Tutorean is a platform that uses artificial intelligence to connect tutors and students.

How does it work? When tutors and students sign up to the platform, Tutorean asks them to take a brief questionnaire designed to measure nine different characteristics related to learning preference and personality.

Based on their responses, students and tutors are matched and given advice on how to get the most out of their lessons together.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

I’m a father myself. So the time came when my 13-year-old needed a little extra help with school. And so my tutor search began.

While searching, I noticed that some tutors just seemed to click with my child. It was as if they were a perfect match.

While some seemed like they were water and oil – complete opposites. “There must be an explanation for that”, I thought at the time.

Indeed, there was.

And so, Tutorean was born while trying to find this explanation.

As it turns out studies have shown that a student’s learning performance can be deeply enhanced by taking into considerations his/her personality type and learning preference.

This is where our smart engine match comes in. We use artificial intelligence to match aspects of the student’s personality and learning preferences with the tutor’s personality and teaching preferences.

How did you know there was a market for it?

There are already dozens of active tutoring platforms both online and offline. So, there is plenty of competition out there (which validades demand) but our strategy is to shake things up and disrupt the tutoring market by introducing new value propositions.

What were you doing before starting up?

I have spent the last few years doing various projects on innovation consulting for big blue chip companies. During this period it was fantastic to create and capture value for my clients in a wide range of industries. When faced with the tutor matching insight it was just natural to jump start Tutorean.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

Absolutely! I guess you could call me a serial entrepreneur. I love the challenges (and thrills) that come with running your own company.

The fast paced decision making, the building of a collective belief of what we are doing that releases energy and enthusiasm that is not typically seen in established projects. If you have not done it yet, you should try it!

How did you raise the money?

Tutorean is one of the ventures funded by Intersection Ventures, a technology venture builder focused on the intersection of human and artificial intelligence.

Describe your business model and how you make money:

Our current business model is simple: we take a commission out of every tutoring session booked through the platform.We look forward to exploring additional revenue streams and business models in the near future.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

Hiring talented people: Hiring and retaining top notch talent is always a major challenge for almost any entrepreneur, I would say. We overcame this by reaching out to our existing network and asking for recommendations.

Growth in the early stages: With the costs of launching a start-up decreasing, and as a result competition and channel saturation skyrocketing, it is getting continuously tough to grow.

We overcame this by using growth hacking techniques and processes which include testing and optimizing a series of potential growth channels until we find a product/channel fit.

Attracting top tutors: The tutor quality in terms of curricula readiness and experience is fundamental. Although we got thousands of applications, each tutor has to be carefully screened before becoming available in Tutorean.

We decided to enforce a series of automated controls, in terms of ID and background checks, before interviewing. That increased dramatically our ability to take in more tutors and better tutors to better serve the students needs.

What was your first big breakthrough?

Our first breakthrough was when we realised we had built something people actually needed. When people started using our tutoring platform and we started connecting tutors and students. That’s when we realised we were creating something of actual value.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Starting a business is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. It’s a challenging and wild ride. It’ll keep you awake at night and sometimes make you question your choices.

But, if you believe in your mission and keep at it, you will breakthrough. And it will be totally worth it. Trust me. Also, don’t underestimate the value of finding a sustainable growth channel. Most businesses fail because of it.

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

I want Tutorean to be the go-to place for finding exceptional tutors, not only in London and the UK but the rest of Europe. I also want to make a positive impact on education by supporting the charitable causes we believe in.