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How virtual learning is creating a new growth sector for edtech startup Varsity Tutors

Varsity Tutors founder and CEO Chuck Cohn said the company has experienced a “massive uptick” in outreach from companies over the past 30 days
Credit: SLBJ
Chuck Cohn, founder and CEO of Varsity Tutors

ST. LOUIS — Virtual learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic is creating growth in a new sector — business to business sales — for the St. Louis edtech startup Varsity Tutors.

Varsity Tutors founder and CEO Chuck Cohn said the company has experienced a “massive uptick” in outreach from companies over the past 30 days as many school districts nationwide have geared up to begin their school year remotely. Companies are seeking out support for employees simultaneously navigating their child’s virtual school day and working from home, Cohn said.

“It’s just not possible to balance all the different demands and companies are starting to become very concerned about productivity and attrition,” he said.

Founded in 2007, Varsity Tutors has developed an online tutoring and learning platform. It is considered one of St. Louis’ most prominent startups, having raised a total of $107 million since its founding. Its expansion with corporate customers comes as Varsity Tutors “looks radically different than it did at the start of COVID,” Cohn said.

Before recently, the startup had only about a handful of corporate clients.

“It honestly wasn’t a focus. Then, given that we’ve seen a 30-fold increase in inquiries, we’ve started shifting resources there given that it is a much bigger priority for corporations than it ever was before,” Cohn said.

That shift comes as Varsity Tutors has expanded and altered its product offerings in recent months amid the pandemic. Cohn said companies are approaching Varsity Tutors with different needs. Some have bought blocks of classes and tutoring for employees while others are subsidizing use of the startup's offerings.

“Given that each organization is different, we’re set up in such a way that we can customize it based on really any budget,” Cohn said. “I’d say half the companies are squarely focused on just supporting the K-12 parents and the other half want all of their employees to have access to the program and are very interested in the professional training solutions we have too.” 

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