Egyptian startup Tutorama is gearing up for a September launch of its product connecting parents with top quality local tutors in their area.
Fresh from winning US$15,000 at the recent MIT Arab Startup Competition, curated marketplace Tutorama will allow to parents to schedule and pay for sessions as well as monitor the progress of their child online.
The project was launched in January by co-founders Mohamed Khodeir and Omar Khashaba, both veterans of the edtech space. They have been piloting the service in Cairo and plan to launch in cities across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region by the end of the year.
“Our offline pilot was intended to be a closed sandbox, so we deliberately launched it within the confines of an existing test preparation business,” Khodeir told Disrupt Africa.
“We started with 20 of their students and grew that to 200 in under four months. Ultimately we validated and refined our business model, and if we can achieve that level of growth offline then the sky’s the limit in terms of what we can do with a scalable online solution.”
Khodeir said parents in the region still look for tutors in the same way as before the internet existed.
“That means they are restricted to handful of popular freelancers in their child’s school or community,” he said.
“These freelancers often charge exorbitant hourly rates, and offer questionable or even low quality tutoring. On top of that, scheduling is a nightmare, and they have to deal with no-shows, late cancellations and a general lack of professionalism.”
Tutorama aims to change all that, with Khodeir saying the startup had first mover advantage in this area, with the only competition coming from the fragmented and decentralised freelance tutoring industry.
The startup charge a commission on each session booked through the Tutorama platform. Aside from the prize money from the MIT competition, it is as yet self-funded, but Khodeir said Tutorama was in discussions with investors over taking on a seed round of between US$1 million and US$1.5 million.