WyzAnt to connect with local private tutors from a Shoestring budget

WyzAnt.com is a platform where students and parents can find and communicate with local tutors to meet their educational, musical and athletic needs. The company was founded in the fall of 2005 and since that time, millions of students in all 50 states have used WyzAnt to connect with local private tutors. With over 22,000 active tutors assisting students in more than 175 subjects, the WyzAnt network has become an interactive, national community.

The idea for WyzAnt came to co-founder Andrew Geant while searching for employment opportunities after graduating from Princeton in the spring of 2005. Andrew noticed a lack of highly functional, user-friendly websites that allowed tutors to find local tutoring opportunities and students to locate qualified tutors. Geant had long believed that college students would make great tutors if presented with the opportunity. After discussing his ideas with college friend and computer science major Michael Weishuhn, the two began developing the companies business model. In September of 2005, Andrew Geant and Michael Weishuhn founded WyzAnt (Weishuhn + Geant = “WyzAnt,” pronounced Wise-Ant).

From the beginning, WyzAnt has been funded with it’s own revenues with minimal outside invest from family and friends. In taking such an approach, Geant and Weishuhn were forced to be disciplined and highly calculated with the use of their limited resources. “It’s one of my biggest recommendations to someone starting a business. Whether its yours or an investor’s, don’t pump a ton of money into an unproven business concept. Start small and learn from your mistakes,” says Geant. The two have embraced this approach over the past 5 years allowing WyzAnt to remain a lean, self-driven entity. Beginning with a small directory of tutors centered in the DC area, WyzAnt was owned and operated entirely by the two founders. Today, WyzAnt’s national network generates multiple millions in annual revenues and is operated by 10 employees out of their Chicago based headquarters.

Although the basic business model and concept have remained largely unchanged over the past 5 years, Geant and Weishuhn admit that they have faced a number of obstacles and difficult transitions to get to where they are today. “Managing our growth has been a constant learning experience,” says Weishuhn. As the company has expanded and become rooted in Chicago, Geant and Weishuhn have been forced to alter their approach and how they view the company. “We realized that WyzAnt was bigger than just the two of us. We had to view ourselves as employees of a company with multiple cohesive units,” said Geant. As founders, they realized they had to take a step back to view the boarder picture in order to effectively guide the companies growth.

From the companies inception to it’s current position, Geant and Weishuhn have been extremely data driven in their decision making. Both founders strongly believe this approach has allowed them to build the company from the ground up without sacrificing significant ownership. All marketing efforts have been carefully sourced and analyzed to determine which campaigns make sense on an ROI basis. When asked what advice he had for first time entrepreneurs, Geant replied:“ Let the data guide you. Source all of your marketing efforts, define different goals and conversions, track the quality of traffic/leads for various sources, optimize for the right keywords and don’t hesitate to change directions if the numbers don’t make sense.”

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