Two College seniors have created an online market for special skills tutoring.
Close friends Karishma Shah and Sushanth Bhaskarabhatla will launch the pre-registration site of SkillHubs Feb. 27.
SkillHubs is an online platform for exchanging special skills through video tutoring. Users can post specific skills they wish to learn, along with their availability and the maximum price they will pay. Others will then be able to bid for the chance to tutor with a video pitch.
The pair won $25,000 in start-up money in the nationwide “Movers and Changers” competition run by New York Stock Exchange and mtvU last November. They came up on top, beating out 149 other ideas.
Shah and Bhaskarabhatla’s idea of “microlessons on the go” aims to provide convenience by teaching and learning online or through videos on digital devices. As the demo video shows, “we emphasize the flexibility between platforms,” Bhaskarabhatla said.
SkillHubs is partnering with two other companies, both of which are affiliated with Penn. Working with their video partner, Shah and Bhaskarabhatla will be one of the first to launch an iTunes application that offers video integration.
Their other partner, When2Meet, will assist with users’ scheduling for the tutoring sessions.
Shah and Bhaskarabhatla met four years ago at PENNacle — a pre-orientation program. Realizing they shared a similar idea last summer, Shah and Bhaskarabhatla came together to create Skillhubs. “We tried to brainstorm as many ideas as possible of what Skillhubs could be,” Shah said.
Shah and Bhaskarabhatla have been working hard to develop their site, securing investments and preparing to file the patent for their algorithm.
With the pre-registration launch today, they are hoping users will submit ideas of skills they wish to learn. They hope to be “bombarded by pre-registration,” Shah said.
Their next step after pre-registration will be to submit the earliest beta, a fully functional site.
In the future, Shah and Bhaskarabhatla also hope to collect enough data so that they can offer their recommendations of skills to users based on their skill set and past requests.
Another goal they had in mind is that, with enough users, bids will be made within 24 hours, Shah said.
Shah and Bhaskarabhatla are studying economics and math, and physics and math, respectively. Their majors have certainly influenced their project, Shah said. “We are both really analytical people. It’s really important for building a site because in order to be successful, you need to be obsessed over data.”
Both also interned at Google last summer. For Shah, her experience alongside “experienced entrepreneurs” made her realize her desire to work with them. “They are just the people I click with,” Shah said. “I like the positivity and mentality of entrepreneurs.”
Her work as part of the New Business Development Team launching Chromebooks and Chrome Web Store in India was also beneficial, Shah said, as it gave her experience in developing “a project for the masses” and filing patents.
Bhaskarabhatla, as part of Google’s TV Ads Team, said his experience inspired him to work at a startup. “I really liked working in the small intense teams and also having a lot of control and initiative over my work,” he said.
Google also influenced Bhaskarabhatla to be very data oriented. “That’s our plan for the future, being able to aggregate a lot of data and then provide users the best information for them,” he said.
This article was revised from a previous version to indicate that the correct name of the website is SkillHubs, not Skillhub.Comments powered by Disqus
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