It’s nearly midnight, and you’re feeling frustrated and stumped on a math problem. In the information age, students can turn to a website called InstaEDU, which can hook you up with a tutor anytime, day or night.
Investors believe that students will continue to flock to InstaEDU for homework help, so the company just secured $4 million in venture financing. With the funding, InstaEDU will build out its team and market its online tutoring service to schools and universities.
Since launching in 2011, the company revealed that it has been growing 50 percent month-over-month, and now boasts 3,000 tutors from top colleges like MIT or Harvard. Tutors are typically paid $20 an hour or more (students are charged $24+ an hour and InstaEDU keeps the rest), and working hours are flexible.
Once students and tutors are matched, InstaEDU connects them in an online lesson space. Lessons can be scheduled in advance, or on demand. To teach, tutors can use video, audio or text chat, and they have access to a collaborative whiteboard, among other cool features.
InstaEDU isn’t the only company in the online tutoring space — alternatives include Tutors.com, Eduwizards, Edoboard, which provides tutors with online tools, and TutorCentral.net. However, it is one of the best known among students, having made a name for itself for providing on-demand access to tutors.
“ Many students don’t have the need for regular tutoring, but every student needs a hand from time to time — and often at the last minute,” InstaEDU chief executive Alison Johnston Rue told me.
Brian O’Malley, the Battery Ventures partner who led the round and will join the Board, said most of his investments are not “altruistic.” However, he recalls being stumped by homework late at night, and not having anyone to turn to.
“InstaEDU’s ability to connect students in the moment of need to tutors from top universities is a true lifesaver,” said O’Malley. “Hopefully [it will] save some of this generation the frustration I remember.”
The investment also includes follow-on funding from Social+Capital Partnership, the firm that led the seed round. InstaEDU’s investors also include Bobby Yazdani, founder of Saba Software, Dylan Smith, co-founder and CFO of Box, Todd Bradley, EVP of Hewlett-Packard, John Johnston, partner at August Capital, Nicolas Berggruen and Nirav Tolia, co-founder and CEO of Nextdoor.