“We’re not just in the middle to take a few percentage points off of each side and pretend like we’re delivering value,” said Shen. “That’s not scalable.”
Semantics aside, Shen’s words underscore a truth about live tutoring businesses: Anyone can start one. All it takes is smart friends, eager students and a platform to bring them together.
The low barrier of entry has given rise to a slew of new startups. Some view edtech as a marketplace play, others go the gig economy route, and some are trying to make tutoring as simple as calling an Uber — on-demand and only when you need it.
Juni Learning, co-founded by Shen and Ruby Lee, is entering a fragmented and fatigued market full of better-funded and well-known startups. The startup views itself as a consumer play instead of an edtech startup and raised a $10.5 million Series A back in February to prove it can take a slice of the market.
With only 4,000 active subscribers, Juni Learning is bringing in $10 million in annual run revenue (ARR), compared to $2 million of ARR in March, according to my calculations.
So how is it faring?
A word of warning
In 2005, Andrew Geant was thinking about two-sided gig economy marketplaces. He applied the model to tutoring, thinking he could grow a business from connecting students and tutors online to meet offline. So, Geant and Mike Weishuhn, both recent Princeton graduates, founded Wyzant.