Tampa-based technology startup, Knack, selected as one of 20 companies in the world as a 2018 Challenge Cup Global Finalist
Leading peer-to-peer tutoring company, Knack, is one of only 20 companies worldwide to be selected to pitch at the Challenge Cup Global Finals. The event will be held in Washington DC on March 22nd at The Anthem, the city’s newest venture, and will mark the culmination of this year’s 75-city Challenge Cup pitch competition! Finalists will showcase new technologies, diverse ideas and innovative business models from around the world. Knack is one of only eight startups from the US and will be competing against companies from all over the world for a $100K equity investment from venture-capital firm Revolution VC.
Technology has enabled traditional industries to improve by leaps and bounds, but progression seems to stop at college tutoring. Access to information is plenty, but existing resources for peer-to- peer tutoring and learning aren’t always convenient, affordable, or relevant. Students are left confused and relying on limited, disparate options – professor office hours, online self-help, or tracking down a tutor courtesy of a fortunately placed paper flyer.
Enter Knack, the nation’s fastest growing and most affordable peer tutoring platform for college students. The marketplace enables top-performing college students to sign up as ‘Course Experts’ and offer one-on-one and group tutoring services. Students looking for help in their coursework can find and meet up with Course Experts on-campus for relevant, affordable, and effective peer tutoring. The company’s mission is to help students discover and deliver their knack, giving them the best platform to build, sharpen, and showcase their skills and abilities. The Knack platform has launched over 40 universities across the country and currently covers over 7,000 unique college courses.
All Course Experts have been verified by Knack to have previously aced the exact course(s) with an A in order to be eligible to tutor on the platform. Upon signing up, Course Experts can work flexibly with full autonomy over their business: setting their hourly rates, schedules, and subjects tutored –– providing the ideal job for busy students.
As Knack’s Course Experts sharpen and validate their skills and abilities through peer-to-peer interactions on the platform, they’re able to showcase their profiles not just to students needing assistance, but also to Corporate Partners; helping them land internships and post-graduate employment. In striving to make a social impact, Knack keeps peer-to-peer learning affordable and accessible for all students. They’re able to accomplish this by signing on these Corporate Partners who sponsor tutoring for students, and in return, receive the ability to attract, engage, and hire the top-performing students from Knack’s network. They are currently working with various Fortune 500 entities and are quickly signing on additional partners.
The company has recently gained other successes as well, like raising funds from well-know investors; including, Precursor Ventures (based in San Francisco, CA), Bisk Ventures (strategic venture-arm of Bisk Education based in Tampa, FL), TiE Tampa Bay Angel Fund (Largest LP being Dr. Kiran Patel), and various other private high net worth angel investors.
The founders met while studying at the University of Florida. After facing the same problem in their own studies, they came together to develop a solution at UF’s business incubator, The Gator Hatchery. It was here that the idea gained traction and an initial user-base. The founding team includes Samyr Qureshi (CEO), Dennis Hansen (CPO), David Stoker (CTO), and Shawn Doyle (CMO). The team originally bonded over the desire to create an efficient peer-to- peer platform that would leverage the power of domain experts to help locals learn in-demand skills.
Knack continued to garner validation through a series of wins locally and nationally:
- 1st Place at the University of Florida’s Big Idea Business Plan Competition ($25,000 cash prize)
- Winning a grant from the Thiel Foundation at the Thiel Summit Demo Day Pitch Competition in San Francisco
- Featured on Inc.com as the Top 30 Emerging Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2017
The Knack team moved operations to Tampa Bay for the sunny weather, vibrant community of entrepreneurs, and its proximity to other major cities with large universities. Knack plans to continue to grow and offer new lines of service as they “knacktivate” campuses across the nation – follow them as they revolutionize college tutoring through peer-to-peer learning. The app can be found in the Apple AppStore, Google Play Store, or on the web at JoinKnack.com.