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UT Juniors Create Uber-like App for Finding Tutors

Published: December 07, 2017
Nick Villa (center), along with cofounders Geoffrey Cahr ’19 (left) and Jacob Sadlier ’19 (right), launched Tutit on the App Store and Google Play  on Aug. 28, and have nearly 800 users (students and tutors) already.
Nick Villa (center), along with cofounders Geoffrey Cahr ’19 (left) and Jacob Sadlier ’19 (right), launched Tutit on the App Store and Google Play on Aug. 28, and have nearly 800 users (students and tutors) already.
There is no face-to-face visual contact through video nor the need to meet in person, something the team says sets them apart from other tutoring services.
There is no face-to-face visual contact through video nor the need to meet in person, something the team says sets them apart from other tutoring services.

The first year Nick Villa ’19 was at UT, he remembers a late night on the second floor of the Macdonald-Kelce library trying to finish his algebra homework minutes before it was due at midnight. He was stuck on a problem and needed help.

“All my friends were busy — they were either doing their own homework or sleeping or playing Xbox, and that’s when I had that aha moment,” said Villa, of Tampa. “Why can’t there be an Uber-like application for tutoring, where if you instantly need help on a smartphone (because every kid has a smartphone now), you could click on the App Store, search for algebra tutor and it pops up there on your phone.”

After that night, he couldn’t shake the idea. It seemed like it had real potential, and it took until the fall of his junior year to turn that idea into reality.

Villa, along with cofounders Geoffrey Cahr ’19 and Jacob Sadlier ’19, launched Tutit on the App Store and Google Play on Aug. 28, and have nearly 800 users (students and tutors) already.

Those seeking tutoring assistance search for their topic of choice (algebra, microeconomics, Spanish, business statistics, etc.). A list of available tutors in those topics will pop up as well as their reviews. The user just clicks on the tutor they want and voila, they are connected to immediate assistance through audio, a shared whiteboard and a chat room with the ability to message photos (such as of the assignment or problem in question).

There is no face-to-face visual contact through video nor the need to meet in person, something the team says sets them apart from other tutoring services.

“We wanted to stress that you could literally do this from anywhere at any time,” Cahr said. “We differ from other tutoring companies in that ours is per minute rather than hour-long sessions. We’re focused on quick help — sessions ranging from 5–15 minutes, as opposed to traditional sit-down, one-hour sessions. That being said, you could still do that through our app if you wanted.”

The app is free to download and sessions start at $0.79/minute with a 5-minute minimum. Tutors are available 24/7 and will respond to a session request within 60 seconds. Users can choose from a range of tutor proficiencies from university students to professors and professionals, all of which are rated in the app at the end of each session. If a tutor doesn’t know the answer to the student’s question, their money is refunded.

“All of the sessions are saved too,” Sadlier said. “So if you do a Tutit session on Monday and have an exam on Friday, you can go back and view the session.”

The team isn’t working alone. Villa’s dad, John Michael Villa, is a serial entrepreneur who has had six successful startups. He, along with several angel investors, are helping with funding and running a full-time staff of five, and UT intern Isabel Riofrio ’18, in their office off South Howard Avenue in South Tampa. Cofounders Nick Villa, Cahr and Sadlier are focused on marketing and strategic development.

The principles they’ve learned in starting a business have directly applied to the cofounders’ academic studies. In Villa and Cahr’s entrepreneurship courses they’ve had to create a business plan, among other things, which correlated to what they were doing with Tutit. The lessons Sadlier is learning in his principles of marketing course are directly being applied to how the team is selling their brand. The hands-on learning with their own business has made a difference for the students.

“100 percent. I learn better by example, more than anything, and actually applying it,” said Sadlier, an international business and management major with a minor in Spanish, of Mt. Holly, NJ.

Friends since their first year at UT, Sadlier and Villa were roommates on the fifth floor of Vaughn, and Cahr lived just down the hall. Cahr and Villa are in the fraternity Zeta Beta Tau together.

“Geoffrey has always been a leader in the fraternity, and now he is currently the president. He always has great ideas coming to him and that is why I brought him on,” said Villa, an entrepreneurship major. “Jacob is incredibly smart, he is a close friend of mine also, and is in the business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi. He has always been a hard worker since freshman year and is always coming up with clever ideas and thinking outside the box.”

Cahr, an entrepreneurship major from Stanford, CT, tutors on the app in micro/macroeconomics, writing, business statistics and analytics, and intro to sociology.

“What I love most about our dynamic is our serious yet fun mentality. We always pick on each other and mess around with one another, but when it's time to focus, we're ready,” Cahr said. “I have learned so much from my past year with Tutit … I am a part of an amazing team, and I truly appreciate all they do to help me grow and to help our company grow.”



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