Kyle Adomian ’22 saw an opportunity, and, being a USC Marshall student, he had the tools to seize it.
As a freshman, Adomian hired a calculus tutor. While the tutor obviously understood the subject, he wasn’t familiar with the text Adomian was using or the professor. His lightbulb moment: How great would it be if the tutor was a USC Trojan who had actually taken the exact class in the past? The idea for TutorTies was born.
In short order, Adomian began manually connecting USC students and USC tutors via a Google form. When the app launched in fall 2020, Adomian upped the tutoring game in yet another way. The TutorTies app gamifies the tutor-student matching process with a familiar swipe right or left. TutorTies successfully gathered USC tutors for all of the major classes across USC schools.
“Our whole swipe-to-match concept makes tutoring more exciting,” Adomian said. “When people receive notifications that they've matched with a USC tutor/student, and they can directly chat in the app, the process of finding a tutor elicits a dopamine effect and even replicates a gamification process, rather than traditional ways to find a tutor.”
Adomian noted that TutorTies also facilitates personal connections. “We've noticed that our platform allows for a more comfortable environment,” he said. “Our platform displays our tutors’ resumes so students can get to know their tutor a little bit prior to meeting and even select one based on common interests or student organizations.”
Built by Trojans
The Trojan family helped Adomian get his business off the ground. After information about TutorTies appeared on Marshall’s Instagram account a year and a half ago, an alumnus reached out with seed money which Adomian used to get a platform built by a USC professor. Throughout his journey, he has received helpful advice and leads from his professors in strategic management, law and other areas.
TutorTies launched with about 90 active tutors. “Our first semester, we facilitated about 150 tutoring sessions,” Adomian said. “Our second semester, spring of ’21, we ended up completing about 350 sessions. So, we saw about 175% revenue growth.”
Adomian expects even more growth in the fall, when tutors and students will decide for themselves if they want to work remotely or in person. And the business is already expanding to other universities. “Michigan, Duke, and Northwestern are just a few of the schools where we have a managing director to run TutorTies on their campus,” he said.
A Learning Experience
Building a tutoring business has been a major learning experience, one that Adomian recommends for any business student. “You learn a lot by doing something on your own. I've been able to touch so many different industries such as marketing, finance, business development, even legal. It is inevitable that we will make mistakes, but through those mistakes, I have learned how to refine myself as an individual and a business owner.”
While Adomian isn’t sure what he’ll be doing far in the future, in the short term, he accepted an offer to work full-time after graduation for an investment bank where he interned last summer. “There's always TutorTies too,” he said. “I’ve learned to keep my options open; obviously, USC is a good place to do that.”