On his first day as a student at McGill’s Faculty of Education, 菲利普·卡特勒, 床上的13, 展示了他的创业精神. He asked his classmates if they’d give him a cut for every student he found for them to tutor.
现在他的公司 纸, 他和罗伯托·奇普里亚尼共同创立的, 二元同步通信08年, is one of the largest online tutoring services in the U.S., hired by public school districts in over 30 states, 以及加拿大的四个省, to assist their students (mostly middle school and high school).
The Montreal-based company grew steadily after its beginning almost a decade ago, but its reach expanded dramatically during the pandemic, an attractive time for good virtual help in school. It now has more than 450 工作人员, 2,200 tutors and serves over 2 million students. Named “one of Canada’s fastest-growing startups” in 2021 by the Globe and Mail, 纸 recently attracted US$270 million of financing from the technology funding conglomerate SoftBank.
最重要的是, the 纸 team’s model for providing educational support means every single kid at a school has access to quality help, 不仅仅是那些父母能负担得起的孩子. Cutler’s own experience in classrooms as a teacher played a huge role in the thinking behind 纸’s approach.
“I began to realize the kids who were [using] private tutors were just [the ones from] wealthy families,卡特勒说. “Students who actually needed the help – 80 to 90 per cent of them – just didn’t have the resources to get that help. I wanted to find a way to bring [tutoring] online so that anybody could have access. 凯发AG的目标是 ... 为每个人创造公平的竞争环境.”
Cutler and Cipriani first began working together in 2013 when Cutler needed someone to build software for a previous business. Cipriani, 当时是神经科学研究生, enjoyed analyzing data and developing software to run experiments more than doing the experiments themselves.
When Cutler decided to create 纸 (it was initially called GradeSlam), he reached out to Cipriani. “I pitched him on it and convinced him to start the company with me.”
Cutler believes his educational studies helped prepare him for his current duties as 纸’s CEO (Cipriani is the company’s chief operating officer and chief technology officer). He says he was taught at McGill to carefully think through the decisions he made.
His stint as a McGill football player offered similar lessons. “You spend an enormous amount of time watching yourself on film, reflecting on what happened. ‘How come you made [this] play, how come you didn’t make [that] play?’
区分纸张的因素很多. For one thing, the student-educator interactions are entirely via chat.
Cipriani recalls that during their first year as a traditional one-to-one videoconferencing tutoring company, 在所有会议的75%中, the student would deny access to the camera and just chat with the tutor.”
困惑, he and Cutler did some research and found that most students weren’t comfortable talking to a stranger on the internet through video. “So, 如果他们在聊天中感觉更舒服, then let’s make sure they can learn through chat,奇普里亚尼说.
When Cutler and Cipriani entered McGill’s Dobson Cup competition for fledgling companies in 2014 with their model of providing tutor support through chat communications, 他们“基本上被笑出了房间,卡特勒笑着说. “I would have agreed if I didn’t hear it from hundreds of students.”
Once the Dobson judges better understood the reasoning behind Cutler and Cipriani’s approach, 笑声停止了, and the nascent tutoring service made it to the competition’s finals. Today, Cutler is regularly a Dobson Cup judge.
Another key realization for Cutler and Cipriani was that students didn’t want or need structured, 安排辅导. “The odds of a student needing 60 minutes of help is practically zero,卡特勒指出, “他们可能需要52分钟的帮助, 他们可能需要80分钟.” Most just want to doublecheck that they’re on the right path, or need help getting unstuck on a particular problem.
纸’s tutors are available around the clock to be consulted on demand, 通过聊天, 不管学生需要多长时间, 不管是周五晚上7点, 或者是周三下午两点.
“For five minutes, for three hours, it’s tailored to their specific needs,卡特勒说. “马上找人帮忙? 它只存在于凯发AG之间.... This will be a new standard of offering that schools have.”
让导师全天候待命, Cipriani说, students develop a relationship with the whole service, 而且不只是有个人家教. It’s a bit like going to your favourite chain coffee shop and experiencing a consistency of quality in the service and product.
The teachers in the school districts that partner with 纸 have also become fans of the company’s 24/7 availability. “Teachers love it because they don’t get requests at 10 at night from students,卡特勒说.
Students can receive tutoring support from 纸 in one of four languages – English, 法国, 普通话及西班牙语.
Most of 纸’s tutors are from within Canada. They have degrees in disciplines such as math, 科学与教育, and some even have graduate degrees (handy for the upper year high school subjects). 所有人的薪酬都很有竞争力.
“We treat this as an alternative career for educators,” says Cipriani. “It’s not a ‘gig’, it’s the career they choose.”