Iowa City startup Tutor Universe raises $300k, surpasses 6,000 users

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Posted: Monday, May 13, 2013 12:00 am

Just because the spring semester is coming to an end doesn't mean that Iowa City startup Tutor Universe is heading out on summer vacation. On the contrary, co-founder and CEO Michael Morrison said the company is busier than ever. 

The team of 12 just completed a $300,000 round of funding from angel investors.

The Tutor Universe website, which went live for its soft launch last November, attracted roughly 1,300 users in its first two months. After the site's official launch at the end of January, numbers have risen to more than 6,000 registered tutors and pupils.

"We've made great progress with the business," Morrison said. "We'll probably surpass our growth objectives for the year by this summer in terms of how quickly our growth is accelerating."

The site functions as a virtual study hall, allowing college students to access tutors in a wide array of subjects, regardless of geographic location.

Morrison (right) and his co-founders, Hung Tran and Thomas Hornbeck, conceived Tutor Universe when Tran and Hornbeck saw an increased demand for tutoring while both were attending the University of Iowa.

In February, Tutor Universe joined a number of other local startups and moved into the Iowa City CoLab. It also was recognized as the 2012 University of Iowa Startup of the Year during the inaugural Hawkeye Innovation Summit in February. 

Morrison says Tutor Universe plans to announce new web features for the site later this summer. Though plans for many of the additions are still under wraps, Morrison hinted that some may help users connect and communicate in new ways. 

"The way that our system does the matchmaking we’re seeing a lot of social collaboration going on outside of the tutoring," he said. "We have a number of social and collaborative components that we'll be adding."


Credits: Photo of Tran courtesy of Tutor Universe. 

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