This week, online tutoring marketplace WyzAnt announced a fresh $21.5 million Series A from Accel Partners. Using those funds, the company plans to ramp business up to the next level and launch its first native mobile app.
CEO and co-founder Andrew Geant says he never sought outside funding before since WyzAnt was always cash-flow positive. Founded in 2005, the company connects students to pre-screened tutors covering more than 240 topics in their area. Today, the site hosts 500,000 tutor and 1 million student profiles.
“We are excited to build out our team, particularly on the product and marketing sides of the business,” Geant said. “This will enable us to reach more tutors and students and offer our users a better experience than ever before.”
To improve that experience, WyzAnt will use the new funding to build out its team. The company will hire as many as 50, particularly in the engineering department, according to Crain’s.
Considering Accel Partners’ track record with bootstrapped, growth-stage companies, Geant said he felt sure of their investing prowess. He mentioned Groupon and Braintree as examples of the firm’s local investing impact. To further solidify the relationship, Accel Partner’s VP John Locke and General Partner Ryan Sweeny will be joining WyzAnt’s board.
With an eye on connecting even more students and tutors, Geant said WyzAnt will introduce its first native mobile app in 2014. “We are always focused on helping more students find great tutors and achieve amazing learning outcomes,” he said. To that end, he will focus on improving mobile accessibility and expanding free educational content and tools as part of WyzAnt Resources.
According to Locke, investing in WyzAnt is not just a vote for education, but also for the marketplace model. “It's a win-win proposition for all parties and a compelling economic model that has been very effective at several other Accel-backed companies including Etsy and 99 Designs,” he said in a statement.
For education startups, this funding is just further proof that it’s cool to be book smart.