Ismail Jeilani, the founder helping teachers build their brands

Ismail Jeilani, the founder helping teachers build their brands

Whatever you want to learn there’s an app for it. Spanish? Maths? Yoga? Download and you’re off!

But there’s a big difference between playing with a smartphone and actually having an experienced teacher guiding you. Which is where Scoodle comes in.

Scoodle is a search engine for tutors. Students browse the vast library of fully-vetted human teachers to find someone ideal for them.

For example, Jamie Parker is a history tutor, his credentials are published on Scoodle: an impressive straight A stars across A levels, and a first class degree in History and international relations from Cambridge University. He’s yours for £30 an hour.

Or how about learning calculus from Becky Masters? She’s got a first in maths from Exeter. In her Scoodle profile she explains the need for patience and adaptability as students learn at different rates. Just £15 an hour.

Overall there are more than 100 subjects to explore on Scoodle. You can book lessons, pay for them, and ask questions through the app. Lessons are face to face or online. The best part is that Scoodle doesn’t charge commission to tutors or parents.

Ismail is the mastermind behind Scoodle, he’s a natural entrepreneur – this is his second company. His first paid for his university studies, “I created small classes in economics, that worked really well. By the start of my second year I’d made enough to cover the entire cost of my degree.”

His mind is always hungry for clever ways to improve Scoodle: “I go through phases of obsessing about things, I’m in that phase now.”

He discovered even small changes to Scoodle can trigger a big change in engagement. For example, he built a new section on the site where tutors publish answers to students’ questions. Now Scoodle is an addictive read, covering topics from “What is Le Chatalier’s principle?” to how to calculate compound interest.

“We take a lean approach” says Ismail, “Release quickly, get feedback very quickly, iterate and change. Startups aren’t just about how quickly you grow, per se, but about how quickly you learn. In our case, when we come up with something, we track it, measure it, and see if it works or not. The Q&A part of the website is now a huge part of the business in terms of engagement.”

He’s kept his team small and friendly, not corporate; his co-workers are old friends. “I’ve known them for a very, very long time. Two of them went to primary school together.”

Ismail believes Tide aligns with his business philosophy: “I ask a question and it gets resolved. I remember having questions around account limits, and thinking I’d need to go and see someone. But I sent questions by email, typed some stuff in the phone app and I was good to go. Which was nice!”

As an entrepreneur always on the move, he finds the biometric log-in very convenient, and the user-friendly design ideal for his needs:

“When you run a business there are time-consuming things you don’t want to think about. Tide frees up that time.”

With the right support in place, Scoodle is growing from startup to fast-growth company.

“One of our investors is the co-founder of Twitter,” reveals Ismail. “It’s really, really cool, not just because he built Twitter, but because he also built a company which was a Q&A company. It’s great to get insight from an insider about what worked and what they wish they’d done differently.”

Even the prime minister is interested in Scoodle. Last year, Ismail went to 10 Downing Street to discuss startups and how online platforms can change schooling. After all, there aren’t many people more qualified to comment than the man pioneering the industry.

“There is a fundamental question around what is the point of education. Is it about grades and what university you went to? Or knowledge?”

He thinks Scoodle can end snobbery around education, and put the focus back on what you know, not where you went.

“We can help people choose the best teachers, not the best schools. We can create a platform where every teacher in the world can showcase their talents.”

The impact could be huge. “It will let students set their own goals. We can change the path in life they want to take.”

Discover Scoodle here: https://scoodle.co.uk/

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