Silicon Prairie News

Tutor Universe launches successful version 2.0, logs more than 20K users

Iowa City September 23, 2013 by Megan Bannister Only 14 days until Big Omaha. Get your tickets before they sell out!

Tutor Universe's version 2.0 allows users to create personal dashboards, much like a Facebook profile page. 

The first day of autumn is just around the corner and Tutor Universe is wasting no time staying on top of the back-to-school season.

With the new semester comes big things for the Iowa City-based startup: the launch of Tutor Universe version 2.0, documenting more than 20,000 active users and an exclusive partnership with the National Tutoring Association. The company's updated site, which went live about a month ago, will now allow users to experiment with a variety of new features, including a free question-and-answer board as well as a new dashboard feature. 

"We’ve had really good success with the launch," said Michael Morrison, co-founder and CEO of Tutor Universe. "We've got some new things we think are gamechangers for the company. A lot of what we built for version 2.0 were things we learned in the first six months of the year."

Tutor Universe, which originally launched last November, functions as a virtual study hall, allowing college students to access tutors in a wide array of subjects, regardless of geographic location. One of the site's latest, most popular features allows students to post questions on a universal message board to be answered by a tutor in most cases, Morrison (right) says, in under an hour. 

"Literally within two hours of the release we had tons of users on the system using the functionality right away," Morrison said of the question-and-answer board. 

Now with tutors in more than 600 subjects, Tutor Universe has grown its audience to more than 20,000 active users in 72 countries. Following the launch of version 2.0, Morrison says the company has seen at least 10 percent growth from week to week.

As a result of its growth and reputation, the startup announced Monday it has formed an exclusive partnership with the National Tutoring Association, the oldest and largest tutoring association. The partnership will allow the more than 8,000 tutors enrolled in Tutor Universe to receive discounted membership and professional accreditation through the organization.  

"We feel like that's great validation for us in terms of how we’re approaching the education sector and what we can provide for tutors," Morrison said. 

Tutor Universe was conceived when co-founders Thomas Hornbeck and Hung Tran saw an increased demand for tutoring while both were attending the University of Iowa. In May, the startup closed a $300,000 round of funding from angel investors, and earlier this summer, Tutor Universe competed on the national radio program Dream Big America

Since February, the 15 full-time team members of Tutor Universe have shared space with a number of other local startups in the Iowa City CoLab. The startup also now has offices in Hannoi, Vietnam. 

 

Credits: Product photo from Tutor Universe blog. Michael Morrison photo courtesy of Tutor Universe. 

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