InstaEDU Cofounders

It’s almost midnight, and you’re stuck on a math problem that is due first thing in the morning.

In stressful situations like these, online tutoring startup Instaedu can help. The Silicon Valley company specializes in finding stumped students a tutor or homework assistants at any time of day or night.

When the company launched, its core innovation was the pay-by-the-minute model, and the on-demand access to tutors. But with its new features, the startup is moving into the realm of personalized learning.

The Instaedu team is honing its abilities to better match its students with tutors based on their academic needs and interests, so they’ll be tempted to set up regular sessions.

Currently, there are 1,500 tutors signed up from top colleges like Harvard and MIT, but the founders aren’t disclosing the number of registered students. Tutors are paid a fixed rate of $20 an hour (Instaedu keeps the rest), and working hours are flexible.

The tutors connect with students using video chat, text chat and document editing — it’s all online, so there are no travel costs. Alternatives include Edoboard, which provides tutors with online tools, and

“The goal is for our students to get to know tutors better before even having that first lesson,” said Alison Johnston, Instaedu’s 25-year-old cofounder (pictured above). So the new features also make it a bit easier to schedule a regular time to meet with the best possible tutor. They include:

  • Real-time messaging so a student can chat with a tutor before scheduling a lesson (this makes it easy to connect with a tutor who is currently online);
  • “Smart messages” for students who need to be matched with a tutor that can help with an advanced or niche subject;
  • Tutor reviews which are displayed publicly so students can browse tutor profiles.

Instaedu has raised just over $1 million in seed funding from the SocialxCapital Partnership.