Congratulations to George Cigale and his Tutor.com (full disclosure - portfolio company and my partner Dan DeWolf is on the board) team for the launch of their direct-to consumer service which offers live homework help and online tutoring. This is the culmination of a mission that George set out to realize over 8 years ago. What is most impressive to me is that while George's initial focus when he launched the service in 2000 was to go after the consumer market, he quickly recognized that consumers did not have the bandwidth (5% broadband penetration vs. 45% today) and the comfort level to purchase online tutoring sessions. So like any smart entrepreneur, George did an analysis and went to the where the money was, providing a service to state and local libraries to offer to their constituency. George's patience and foresight helped Tutor.com weather the nuclear storm and build a real business behind the scenes. Of course, timing is everything and George and his team have been waiting for the right time (TODAY) to offer a direct-to-consumer service which provides live homework help for students. As George says:
You may know that over the past five years, we have focused on working with libraries across the nation to help kids connect with a real live tutor for one-to-one help. We'll serve over 1 million students this year through our Live Homework Help programs in over 1,500 libraries in 40+ states, and we will continue working closely with libraries as we expand our offerings. 94% of students say they got the help they needed and would recommend the service to a friend, and lots of great news coverage about those programs at Tutor's Press Page.
Today we launched Tutor.com Direct (the right side of Tutor.com). Students and parents everywhere can now get live one-to-one help from expert tutors at the moment a child needs help.
No more waiting for your tutoring session next week or driving your child to a tutoring center. Tutor.com Direct allows a child to get the help they need every day, before small difficulties turn into significant learning problems.
I hope you'll try it, have your kids try it, and share it with friends and colleagues. You can use the code "GCLAUNCH1" to get your first two hours for $5. Plus a third hour free if you call us at 800-411-1970 and give us your feedback after trying the service.
Hidden in this promotion for you to try this service are some nuggets of wisdom, the most important of which is that as a startup you must be flexible, flexible enough to know when your go-to-market strategy is not working and that sometimes you have to change, change your business model, your product, or your pricing strategy in order to be successful.