In America, private tutoring has traditionally been limited to students from affluent households who can afford to pay for individual instruction. But Gooroo (think guru) is here to change all that. The Manhattan-based startup is on a mission to connect students from all economic backgrounds with the perfect tutor that best matches their needs based on subject, location, price, and availability. The online platform is the brainchild of Founder & CEO Scott Lee, whose interest in the tutoring industry stretches back to his own experience as a student in South Korea.
“Growing up in Seoul, I was surrounded by so many options for learning through the city’s saturated private tutoring market,” Scott reminisces. “It wasn’t uncommon to see over 10 different learning centers on one street.”
Later, Scott moved to the United States to attend high school, where he quickly discovered that quality tutoring wasn’t accessible to everyone. This realization stuck with him, as too did his understanding that education had the power to break cycles of poverty and create greater opportunities. With this in mind, Scott first created PeerTutor, a non-profit volunteering platform that connected impoverished high school students in rural Korea with English tutors from the United States. Not long after, Scott expanded his vision, imagining ways to provide individualized learning for all students, regardless of their background, learning style, or financial situation. Thus, Gooroo was born.
“In the beginning, it was just me and Phil [Hwang] our COO,” says Scott. “We would meet up at coffee shops to discuss ideas for developing Gooroo and making it a reality.”
In June 2015, Gooroo was founded with Scott and Phil working out of a converted two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. Over the next three years, the company experienced tremendous growth. It now counts over twenty employees, and is in the process of making a company move to a larger space that can accommodate future expansion.
Just last year, Gooroo hit a number of impressive milestones including solidifying a multimillion dollar contract to become the official vendor of the NYC Department of Education. The company will provide educational services throughout New York City with the goal of helping to minimize the wealth-education gap. One such service is the launch of a learning portal that allows students, parents, and tutors to digitally track learning progress to pinpoint strengths and weakness, helping to further develop students’ education.
Gooroo has also made notable strides in Asia, as it strategically expands into international education. The company has signed partnerships with TAL Education Group (a $15B Company) and VIPKid (the fastest growing education group in China). In addition, Gooroo is also launching various educational endeavors such as a Tech Camp in Chengdu, China.
Ultimately, Scott imagines Gooroo becoming a household name synonymous with learning, and hopes participating in the Michelson Runway Accelerator will help in realizing this vision.
“We believe that being a part of the Michelson Runway Accelerator provides us with the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded individuals who share our goals of increasing equity and accessibility in education,” Scott says. “Gooroo is making tutoring affordable and possible for more students, which aligns with the values and mission of the Michelson 20MM Foundation.”