SA’s Tutor Roots racks up 1k downloads, seeks funding for growth


South African startup Tutor Roots is seeking funding to scale its operations after racking up around 1,000 downloads of its app.

Founded in 2015, Tutor Roots is a mobile app and platform developed out of the need to make a change from the traditional admin-intensive method used by tutoring companies, and adopt a more streamlined and automated approach.

The app has a database of hundreds of screened tutors which uses can browse through using various filters. Learners can chat to tutors and buy lessons through the app. Tutors, meanwhile, get more access to jobs, can schedule lessons, and manage their clients.

Since its launch, the Tutor Roots app has been downloaded almost 1,000 times, while it has received around 1,000 applications from tutors.

“Due to our thorough screening and interview process, we accept about 15 per cent of tutor application. Over the last year our system has proved itself, and it works well with minimal administration, but so far we have only reached a small percentage of the system’s potential and we look forward to growing to a much larger scale,” co-founder Andrea Roy told Disrupt Africa.

This it hopes to do by securing some funding. Self-funded thus far, Tutor Roots wants more capital to build its team and market its product, which was built based on Roy’s previous experience running a physical tutoring business. She had quickly realised there was an administrative limit to how many tutors she could manage, and looked to automate the process.

“Being less admin-intensive, the system can manage to reduce the commision required and therefore make it even more attractive financially to tutors and learners. Tutor Roots aims to offer a better service at cheaper rates than any traditional tutoring service,” said Roy.

The startup, which earns a commission on every lesson booked through its app, is fully focused on the South African tutoring market, which Roy said has grown massively and has a large potential.

“Once we have established ourselves in South Africa, we wish to expand globally. Adapting our system to a new country would not be too difficult,” she said.

That, however, will depend on funding.

“Our biggest struggle has been not being able to employ people full-time to work on the system and increase growth and development at a faster rate. We are looking for investment and funding to change the Tutor Roots app from an intensive project to a fully fledged company that can blaze through the tutoring market in South Africa and beyond,” said Roy.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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