Law alumnus engages crowdfunding to expand tutoring company 

Mark Hughes (L) and Scott Woodley (R), Co-Founders of TutoraA company supported by start-up coaches from the University of Sheffield Enterprise (USE) has launched a second round of crowdfunding as it expands into the £6bn UK private tuition industry.

Last year we reported on Sheffield-based Tutora, which was founded by University of Sheffield Law School graduate Scott Woodley, a former teacher fed-up with the difficulty parents faced in trying to find a tutor for their children. Tutora helps parents and families find the very best tutors who are local to them, with tutors providing at-home lessons in any subject and for any age group.

The company set up their system to find a better way of finding reputable tutors than having to rely on word-of-mouth. The team vet every tutor before they join the site and, because every lesson is booked online, their 'best match' algorithm can find the choicest tutors, pulling them to the top of the search results, whilst removing those whom the company don't feel offer a truly great service.

Last year the company, which was initially based in the USE’s co-working space, raised £150k via Crowdcube allowing the business to begin creating jobs and scaling rapidly.

Co-Founder Scott said of the company’s progress:

“We're delighted with how far we've come since last April's raise. The funding we secured allowed us to build out new features, grow our team and advertise to more families to let them know how we can help. We've grown by 700% in lesson bookings since then and now have over 6,000 tutors across the whole of the UK, so it's clearly helped!

“We believe that this round of funding will allow us to become the largest tuition company in the UK. We plan on launching an online tuition portal, as well as apps for students and tutors. Ultimately, we hope to expand internationally, and feel that this step will come fairly soon. It's an exciting time!”

The company is still based in Sheffield and hopes to raise a new round of £350k at a £4.2 million pre-money valuation. The funds will be used to further enhance their site, offer online tuition and develop apps for both students and tutors.

Reflecting on his own studies and time at Sheffield Scott said:

“My time at the University of Sheffield has been a huge help in allowing us to grow the business. Not only were we welcomed at the University's Enterprise Zone, which supported us when we were a fledgling businesses, I've also been able to use my Masters in Law to great effect as I've trodden the tricky path of setting up a company.”

Tutora is one of a number of successful companies which has received support from USE. The centre seeks to stimulate new ideas and supports students and graduates of the University to make their entrepreneurial ideas happen. Budding entrepreneurs can access business coaching, advice, seed funding and incubation space.

Sara Pates, Head of Enterprise at the University of Sheffield, said:

“It’s fantastic that Tutora continue to grow and succeed, using new innovative ways of raising money whilst operating from their base in Sheffield.”

You can find out more about the fundraising campaign on the Tutora Crowdcube page.

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