UT students create app to pair students with tutors

Jameson Pitts

A new mobile app created by UT students will join the likes of Favor and Uber by matching students to independent tutors.

The creators of the app, which is simply named Tutor, expect it to be available for iOS and Android on Halloween. Tutors of all disciplines and levels will be able to register and set their own rates, of which the company will take a 15 percent cut. Tutor aims to reach beyond the scope of university tutoring resources by expanding nationally and offering tutoring for professional exams.

Enrique Sotomayor, undeclared junior and one of the four founders of the startup, allowed The Daily Texan to use a pre-release version of the app. The responsive interface allows the user to search by subject or class, view reviews of tutors, make appointments and request homework tips in exchange for payment from the Tutor network.

“We can monetize what you learned last semester by teaching somebody who’s struggling this semester, so that you can afford to get through whatever you’re struggling with this semester,” Sotomayor said. “That’s sort of the elevator pitch — to get the kid in the front of the classroom to help the kid in the back of the classroom.”

Jared Royal, marketing junior and Tutor co-founder, said the concept was very personal to him.

“Sometimes it’s hard to ask for help,” Royal said. “I wish I could have been able to just find help from my phone, instead of going to a tutoring center, which can be demoralizing and embarrassing.”

Educational psychology graduate student Ye Feng, who visits the Sanger Learning Center for writing help, said she likes that a user can both tutor and make appointments to be tutored through the app.

“I think that might be very helpful,” Feng said. “I need tutoring for my writing, but I think I can tutor for statistics or experimental design.”

Sotomayor said he credits much of their success to the mentoring and resources provided to them through the Austin Technology Incubator, a UT program that helps to launch and secure funding for promising Central Texas startups.

Lydia McClure, who runs the incubator’s university-focused portfolio, met Sotomayor in the entrepreneurship UGS course she teaches, and eventually selected Tutor, along with nine other teams, out of 180 university startups.

“There’s this mantra that anyone can have an idea,” McClure said. “The people that are successful are the ones who can execute it well.”