Montreal-based GradeSlam, which provides a one-on-one tutoring platform, has closed $1.6 million in funding in a round led by Pittsburg and San Francisco-based Birchmere Ventures.
BDC Capital, Anges Quebec, Real Ventures, angels Brian Karol & Robert Luxenberg, and founder and CEO Philip Cutler also participated in the round.
“Education is about accessibility and equality. However, the world of tutoring has always been an elitist concept reserved for wealthy families that can afford it,” said Cutler, a former teacher and graduate from McGill University. Cutler built the platform with CTO Roberto Cipriani, a neuroscientist, and VP of Product Saad Benryane, who worked on establishing internet design standards for the United Nations.
“As a teacher, I would often have two students struggling with a topic – one family could afford a tutor and that student would get extra help to fill the gaps, the other could not. This created a division in equality between the two families based on financial means. Over time, these gaps would get wider and wider. GradeSlam ensures that all students are on a level playing field. After all, education is about accessibility and equality, not how much money your family makes.”
Since its launch in September 2015, GradeSlam has facilitated 350,000 tutoring sessions with students in over 80 countries. Students can receive unlimited tutoring at a fixed cost.
GradeSlam plans to use the funding to grow its list of schools and districts using its service for all their students. “Most schools have been conditioned to believe that the investment in one-to-one teaching is outside their budget — but with GradeSlam, it is now something that every school can afford,” said Cipriani.
According to Cutler, institutions can receive more actionable insights that allow teachers to better understand the unique needs of each student. “Students have different learning styles and with large class sizes, many end up falling through the cracks. GradeSlam allows these students to be caught and given the individualized academic support they need,” said Cutler.