The online tutoring platform, MyTutor, has secured new funding taking its total investment to £10 million in the past three years – and making it one of the highest-funded EdTech ventures in Europe.
The company, one of the first cohorts to join the EDUCATE programme when it launched last year, plans to challenge the traditional tutoring industry, claiming it is outdated and expensive. The new money will be used to expand the business, potentially to new clients overseas.
Rose Luckin, Professor of Learner Centred Design and Director of EDUCATE, said “All of us on the EDUCATE team are thrilled to hear about the success of My Tutor. The company was among our first cohorts, and they have gone from strength to strength, and are now competing commercially with the very best in the EdTech sector. It is a testament to their great product and to their hard work and commitment to the programme.”
MyTutor uses more than 7,000 tutors who are high-performing students at leading UK university to offer individual tuition to children and young people at different stages of their education.
It comes at a time when increasing numbers of parents are using the services of private tutors to boost their children’s academic achievements. It is estimated that one in three pupils now receives some form of private tuition.
The tutoring industry is particularly buoyant in London, where parents pay up to £50 an hour for sessions. In contrast, MyTutor fees start at £18 an hour.
Tutors are ranked on five metrics from their interviews and on their personality and tutoring style before being matched with appropriate students on a one-to-one basis. All tutorials are recorded and can be played back later.
Bertie Hubbard, the CEO, said: “Tuition agencies lack scale and cost efficiencies so tend to cluster in areas of concentrated demand, charge extortionate prices, or offer directory-style services that lack transparency and quality control. The whole system needs to be fundamentally rethought if we’re to make high quality support available more broadly.”
The company believes its services and competitive prices level the playing field in different parts of the country where private tuition is scarce or not affordable to families.
The company’s On-line Lesson Space features live video chat alongside an interactive whiteboard, using collaborative tools and with the ability for tutors and students to upload and view files together. Parents can browse and meet tutors for free online before committing to paid lessons.
MyTutor has provide intervention programmes to raise attainment in schools, particularly to disadvantaged children. A study last year showed that students using MyTutor made +1.7 grades progress compared to their peers who hadn’t received tuition (+0.5 grades).
Universities are also engaging MyTutor as a core component of their efforts to widen participation from less economically advantaged school pupils. The company currently partners with over 240 schools and universities in the UK.
Mobeus Equity Partners led the most recent £5 million round, with participation from all MyTutor’s existing high-profile angel investors, including Clive Cowdery (Resolution) and Thomas Hoegh (Arts Alliance) and Stephen Welton (Business Growth Fund).
Hubbard comments: “We’re seeing triple-digit growth in demand for online tuition, versus double digit for offline. There will always be a place for in-person tutoring, but as we’ve seen with e-commerce, health and other sectors, the role of offline will diminish as parents look for greater choice, and are won over by the ease of scheduling, better prices, and the ability to play-back lesson recordings.
“This round of funding puts MyTutor in a position to deliver the new, dynamic model the sector desperately needs.”