Back in February we interviewed a scrappy group of Emory sophomores hell-bent on creating a q&a platform to blow Ask Jeeves out of the water. By March they were moving into our coworking space (back when Hype was in the space game), built a giant shared desk (really a picnic table) from Ikea, pulled up a few folding chairs, and threw themselves into making StudyPool a success. After an invitation to Ebootcamp at Stanford University and gaining acceptance into 500 Startups, Atlanta lost them to California where they have been refining their product and gaining traction.
StudyPool, a 500 Startups batch company that connects students and tutors, is yet another company that takes the template for building a marketplace from Uber and Airbnb and applies it to another area where there’s usually a lot of friction involved in each transaction.
StudyPool co-founders Richard Werbe and Jimmy Zhong have built their startup around some of the key lessons from other successful marketplace services — specifically, working to bolster both the demand and supply sides of transactions.
For instance, there’s no landing page hyping the service before you get to see what it’s actually like — the home page starts with a text box for asking a question you’d like to see answered quickly, then summarizes how the site works, and concludes by showing examples of the kinds of in-depth questions people are willing to pay for answers to. Aesthetically it looks a bit rough (Werbe says it’s the same design the pair launched with back in March) but functionally, StudyPool does a great job of onboarding.