Featured Startup Pitch: ClutchPrep’s textbook-specific videos are made to help college students get better grades

Marcio Souza, ClutchPrepBy Marcio Souza, ClutchPrep co-founder and CEO

ELEVATOR PITCH

Clutch Prep helps college students actually understand concepts and score higher in tests by offering high quality, in-depth and textbook-specific supplemental videos.

PRODUCT/FEATURE DESCRIPTION

Our supplemental, textbook-specific videos courses feature:

  • Concept videos with straight-forward explanations and solved examples, which help students actually understand topics they are learning
  • A comprehensive set of practice problems, with video solutions, to help students better prepare and ultimately score higher on tests
  • Printable study guides that accompany the videos

Students can also ask questions on specific videos, which are then answered by our expert tutors—ensuring they truly understand the subject matter.

FOUNDING STORY

In 2010, Johnny Betancourt and I were successful private tutors for subjects such as physics and organic chemistry. We had so much demand just from students at Florida International University in Miami that we decided to open a small office. After seeing great success there, we opened a bigger office. Eventually, even the bigger office couldn’t meet the demand and many students expressed interest in tutoring sessions at different times. As a result, the team began recording all sessions, which could then be hosted online. As these sessions were textbook specific, the team realized that we could expand our content nationally and in February 2013, Clutch Prep was launched online to other schools.

This online product impressed the program directors of the Techstars Chicago startup accelerator and Clutch has been in Chicago building the online product with the same team that originally built the local tutoring business at FIU.

ClutchPrep screenshot

MARKETING/PROMOTION STRATEGY

Currently, we are utilizing various digital channels to promote Clutch including our blog, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. We have seen amazing traffic on our blog and students are highly engaged on social media.

One particular strategy we use is custom landing pages for different universities, organizations and sub segments. For example, we have one landing page that targets students who are reviewing for the MCAT. We have found that many students reviewing for the MCAT need to go back to Organic Chemistry. Unfortunately for them, they have often sold their textbook and there are few resources available to them to review. We have helped to fill that void for them and these landing pages focused on the MCAT convert well as a result.

Luckily for us, it’s very easy to know where our target market is located at any one time. College students are not only centralized on certain campuses, but also within certain classrooms. As a result, we are able to hire campus representatives to market Clutch at different colleges across the United States. These campus representatives can reach out to professors and student organizations as well as post flyers on bulletin boards outside classrooms.

Finally, another promotional strategy we have been using is student-to-student referrals. We use email marketing and features baked into our website to encourage our users to share with their friends. When we conducted user interviews, we learned that students do not show a competitive spirit where they withhold resources from their fellow students. Rather, they don’t like seeing others struggle, so they want to help them out. We provide ways for students to invite those friends and offer them help, which ultimately targets this emotional response.

MARKET OPPORTUNITY

We built a profitable local business in Miami, FL around great supplemental content, and are now looking to expand to help college students throughout the country. There are over 20 million college students who take the top 50 classes in the United States, which represents a total market size of $1.2 billion. This does not consider the fact that the total global tutoring market will surpass $102.8 billion by 2018. Many college students are in classes of over 300 people and are frustrated that they cannot learn the content that they are being tested on. We have the opportunity to help these students relieve great stress and get better grades. We want to first tap into the $1.2 billion opportunity mentioned before, but there’s also other opportunities in the future for other areas of focus for academic content.

HOW WE DIFFERENTIATE FROM THE COMPETITION

Khan Academy is currently the only well-known provider of college video content. Our videos are much more in-depth, not only helping students actually understand concepts, but also helping them prepare to score higher in their classes. Our videos are also textbook-specific, so students can focus on learning concepts that are actually relevant to them.

BUSINESS MODEL

We are currently completely free, but plan on transition to a “freemium” model with a paid subscription that will give students access to even more content.

CURRENT NEEDS

We are currently hiring a Web Developer and Campus Representatives at multiple universities. We plan on expanding our team as we build more content to help even more students.

# # #

ClutchPrep logoHEADQUARTERS: Miami

WEBSITE: www.clutchprep.com

FOUNDERS: Marcio Souza, Johnny Betancourt, Artem Volos, Alain Fontaine

INVESTORS: TechStars Chicago

INCUBATOR/ACCELERATOR: Techstars Chicago

YEAR FOUNDED: 2011

ANGELLIST: angel.co/clutch-prep

TWITTER: @clutchprep

FACEBOOK: facebook.com/clutchprep

CRUNCHBASE: crunchbase.com/organization/clutch-prep

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