We at eCollegeFinder are nerds about all things education. Whether we want to talk about a cool class from 4 years ago or technological advancements helping to evolve classrooms and learning, we’re all ears! Along these lines, we’re excited to launch a new series on our blog highlighting innovators in the education world. This month, we’re pleased to have Miguel Kudry join us to answer a few questions about his online tutoring app, HelpHub. Without further adieu, here’s the conversation eCollegeFinder’s Mike Simmons had with Miguel.
Before we get into HelpHub, give us a quick introduction to Miguel Kudry.
Miguel Kudry is a full stack technologist and seasoned entrepreneur, at the ripe age of 21. Born in Venezuela moving to Vancouver the day after he graduated high school, he is currently a business administration student at Douglas College and already has several internet start-up businesses under his belt.
Tell us about HelpHub, where did the idea originate?
HelpHub is a platform that connects students with tutors online, instantly, anywhere, through messaging, phone, video, white-boarding and file sharing features.
At the same time, tutors choose their own rates, and earn money by the minute, while students get help. Students can find a tutor in a subject they’re having trouble with and call or message them right away. The platform eliminates the problem of waiting and going through the normal steps of finding a tutor. Right now, the traditional ways are quite limited — you have to make an appointment and it takes 24 to 48 hours to get a response. The goal is to make HelpHub a platform that increases study efficiency of students.
The idea for HelpHub developed early December 2012. Being a student I run into this all the time. I’m by myself studying for a test at 6, 7 or 8 a.m. and I can’t go to school to get a tutor. I’ve seen friends who email people at their college for help hoping somebody will answer it. Other options make you pay higher prices for sessions that you may not need, in advance. Those were essentially the only options, and I felt there could be a better way to get help, whenever you needed it. I had a working version in January and tested it with a few friends who really liked the idea, and launched it on Feb. 1 2013. We recently raised our first round of funding to help us grow into a mainstream service.
How can people get involved, either as a tutor or a student?
For tutors to start using the platform, they need to register and verify their phone number or connect their Facebook accounts on the site. Tutors can then choose their own hourly rate and add the subjects they tutor. Rates start at $10/hour, and usually are chosen by the tutors depending on their own depth of knowledge. They can also be “tipped” by students for tutoring or help received via chat.
For students, they can login through Facebook or register with their email. It’s as simple as typing in the class or posting a question to find tutors and get help right away.
How do you confirm the authenticity of tutors?
The HelpHub platform is a self-regulating market. We screen and monitor tutors and have set up a Tutor IQ points system with a series of metrics to reward the most active and engaged tutors. Moreover, tutors are able to submit digital copies of credentials that support the subjects listed on their profiles. Our platform is also constantly monitored for security and quality control purposes.
What are some issues that you’ve had to overcome since the launch of HelpHub?
HelpHub first launched as a phone tutoring marketplace. We introduced video tutoring capabilities a few months after, but we still had to overcome the fact that students may be shy to start conversations. Beyond letting them chat with tutors, we started letting tutors start conversations with students, who have reacted very well to it.
Where do you envision HelpHub in 5 years?
We envision HelpHub as an everyday tool for students around the entire world within 5 years to help them excel in school and achieve the results they want. Everyone needs help at some point, and we want to provide them with the platform to do that easily, affordably and extremely conveniently.
Lastly, what do you have planned for the summer?
This will be a busy summer. It will be a great opportunity to test out some features and parts of our product with students, and do a lot of preparation for the Fall semester. We will also be looking at other markets, as we are starting to introduce our platform internationally.