Is this all an educator in the passion economy needs?
Tutorbloc is almost like Substack for teachers
It feels like online tools for educators are two-a-penny these days, but today’s startup is trying something different that feels almost like ‘Substack for teachers’, in that it’s an all-in-one tool for offering their product as a business online.
That comparison only goes so far—the teachers pay the startup and the students pay the teachers—but you get the idea.
After an initial dose of funding from Atomico’s angel programme, they’re raising their first proper round. Scroll down to read all about London’s Tutorbloc.
Paying PreSeed Now members get the full article, including all the company’s plans, and why well-known angel Andy Ayim invested through Atomico’s fund.
Today’s profile is the first for this newsletter not written by me. I first worked with Andrii Degeler at The Next Web a few years ago, and he’s since had a long stint at Tech.eu as well as writing for Ars Technica among others. Andrii knows the European startup scene like the back of his hand, and it’s great to have him contributing to PreSeed Now.
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Tutorbloc is almost like Substack for online educators
by Andrii Degeler
Mercurius Saad has a complicated relationship with education. He says he wasn't good at school, and things didn't get much better after he graduated, as he failed his first semester at the University of Birmingham, where he studied Maths and Business Management.
Many other students would just drop out and do something else with their lives, but Saad decided to turn things around — and succeeded, surprising everyone, including his academic superiors.
"Mathematics is a gruelling subject at university level," he said. "I really struggled with it. But [after failing the first semester] I had spent so much time in my lecturer’s office, asking questions, studying for 16 hours a day for three years. And then it finally clicked, it all made sense."
Saad says he ended up graduating with the highest grade in his year group and was offered a PhD scholarship, which he immediately rejected in favour of becoming an entrepreneur. The company he started is Tutorbloc, a B2B SaaS product that caters for the audience of educators, no matter what and whom they teach.
How to herd online creators
In the early days, Tutorbloc looked very different to what it’s like now. Armed with his own experience in tutoring maths, Saad initially wanted to create a marketplace for tutors and students in order to democratise personalised education. However, the Covid-19 pandemic quickly showed the issues of this model.
"We realised that governments and regulation had a massive impact on our business," Saad said. "When they shut down schools and said there wouldn't be any exams — well, nobody needed any tutoring support. So there was a period of time when no activity took place on the platform. That's just a really vulnerable place to be in as a startup."