Tutor.id had the honour to speak on behalf of Estonian education-related startups at Latitude44 – the first Latitude conference held outside of Estonia. Experience the conference through the eyes of Karen Roosileht, the CEO of Tutor.id.
Last week was full of events – celebrated my birthday and attended Latitude44 in Toronto, Canada. I not only had the chance to network with like-minded individuals, but participated in two panels discussing my favourite topics: entrepreneurship and education.
Fittingly for Tutor.id, held at the WE Global Learning Centre – a gorgeous building full of powerful messages.
Visiting Canada was exciting as it’s the country in the Americas with the highest invesment rate in education. Canada has the most college graduates per capita in the world and is committed to support global education.
Futhermore, expanding to Canada is strategically interesting for Tutor.id. We are gradually increasing our North American user base, connecting North American tutors with Asian students — a booming market.
Canada met the best of e-Estonia
Latitude44 was the formal debut of Estonia’s technological advancements in Canada. The flagship digital society has turned heads all over the world, with their fast-paced rise to the top.
Thus, it’s no surprise the whole conference was themed around how Estonia built their e-government. From healthcare and cyber security to the jealousy-inducing 3-minute tax declaration. Estonia is the staple of how innovation and entrepreneurship is incentivised by the government.
Sample tech startup founders from Estonia
I had the stage to tell the tale of Tutor.id next to other unique technology startups:
- Zelos (managing volunteers),
- FirmaFitness (corporate fitness),
- Lumebot (autonomous snow plows),
- Natufia (seedpods) and
- SIRF (AI consulting).
In short, Tutor.id was born from a need I faced daily and there was no adept solution on the market. It was that simple. Everything that followed wasn’t, though.
“Hi, I’m Karen from Tutor.id”
Elevator pitch: We empower people to share knowledge as a business.
1 minute pitch: Tutor.id is a marketplace connecting tutors and students whilst providing a powerful management tool for tutors to build scalable businesses. Solving problems tutors face, we enable quality education, resulting in more effective learning for students.
I once found financial freedom with my one-woman tutoring business. But as every entrepreneur, I had to split my time between customer acquisition, sales, collecting payments, accounting and actually teaching.
Tutor.id lets private teachers focus on teaching, we take care of the rest.
With a well-established client base, it became overwhelming to manage and my teaching quality suffered. I lost sight of why I initially started tutoring – for the love of teaching. I founded Tutor.id to automate all the mundane tasks private tutors struggle to perform manually and inefficiently.
Don’t let my name fool you, I’m no native Estonian
I did my Master’s in Estonia back in 2010, absolutely adored my experience and Estonia was been on my radar ever since.
In January 2015, I had a clear business idea for Tutor.id and read about the e-Residency programme. I decided to give it a try! The incentives and lack of bureaucracy were significantly more attractive than becoming an entrepreneur in my own country – Brazil.
“An Estonian Founder from Brazil” — that’s how I was introduced by Veljo Otsasson (Superangel) before hitting the stage to tell my founder story.
I took a five-week vacation to Estonia and by the end of February I had my company successfully registered as an e-resident. Today, I am living in Estonia and my Brazilian cofounder holds an entrepreneur/Startup Visa. We are extremely grateful to Estonia, for enabling Tutor.id to happen thanks to its extremely startup-friendly initiatives.
Establishing company values within an international team
Main constant throughout my startup journey has been the need for establishing company values. They can change with time, but it’s incredibly important to think about what kind of company you want to build.
Startups often underestimate the need for establishing (and reinforcing) company values. They are the core of every decision — from product direction to hiring. When building a team, you need to look for people with the necessary skillset, different personalities, but the same values. This is the foundation of every great organization.
“Team work makes the dream work”- it’s true.
E-learning for the independent learners of the future
The closing panel was about how education — the queen of every profession — can embrace big ideas.
There is no way to run away from innovation when it comes to educating younger generations. They are online! So, how are different initiatives addressing e-learning to improve education? I was so inspired and motivated to meet fellow bright minds and pick their brains.
WE Charity is bringing basic education to remote areas of developing countries, while The Knowledge Society is incentivising teenagers to independently learn the necessary skillset to solve global problems. What is Tutor.id‘s vision for the future of education? A fully customizable curriculum.
How does it feel to be the “Estonian founder from Brazil”?
I guess my favourite part of the conference was how I felt: embraced by a country other than my own. I wasn’t a Brazilian founder, I was an “Estonian founder from Brazil”, representing Estonia and Tutor.id at a tech conference.
The startup ecosystem never made us feel we did not belong. This is how I felt, and this perfectly exemplifies how Estonia is redefining being an Estonian founder. And I love it!
Tutor.id is an Estonian born startup regardless where the cofounders or I am from.