Getting to Know the New York Education App
Many educators look to tutoring as a way to make some extra cash, but planning and finding clients can be cumbersome.
A Brooklyn-based entrepreneur set out to do something about it, and was able to pitch her idea to celebrity investors Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow, and will.i.am.
Megan O'Connor's startup, Clark, recently announced that it was one of the few successful candidates on Apple’s new series “Planet of the Apps.”
The company — which uses AI to manage tutor's scheduling and invoicing needs — went on to receive $2.5 million in seed-funding from Snapchat investor Lightspeed Ventures.
While the aforementioned celebrities ultimately passed, angel investor Gary Vaynerchuk — known for backing Tumblr, Twitter, Venmo, Uber and Facebook— joined the seed round. Total funding since the show is now at $3.5 million.
But it was O’Connor's New York moxie that inspired her to create Clark. The Williamsburg resident grew up with a single mom who, as a teacher, tutored on the side to make ends meet. The struggle inspired her to eliminate the many "pain-points" her mother had to go through.
What do you like most about the city?
The fact that I can walk to almost everywhere I go — meetings, events, errands — and those walks are always exciting. On the weekends, I spend a lot of time in Williamsburg enjoying the beautiful street art along Metropolitan and Grand, along with stops into my favorite stores Bird and Catbird.
Do you have a favorite restaurant/coffee shop/location that you like to frequent?
I love Sunday in Brooklyn. I am there for brunch almost every Saturday funny enough. The scrambled eggs are unlike you have had anywhere else in the world. Plus, they have a beautiful roof deck.
What is it about N.Y.C. startups that set them apart?
Most people who join the founding team of a startup in N.Y.C. come from big business and are applying those skills to a startup. It's the best place to take your expert skills and apply them to a new space. There is an unbelievable amount of excitement working at a startup and every day is a new, exciting challenge.
Were there many major lessons you learned about starting a company in New York?
So many. I will say the most important lesson I learned is the most important thing you can do is be very intentional with those first people you hire and create an environment where they can thrive. Those early hires are taking a big bet on you and your idea and taking care of those people is just as important as building the product.
Is there on particular financial backer that you worked with that was especially helpful in getting Clark launched?
Aaron Batalion from LSVP was one of the first people I told the idea of clark to. Now he is on our board and has been a huge help in getting our first iterations of the product out.