Elevator Pitch – HomeWorkClub.bc.ca

Parents need a safe, online space where their children can access qualified help with their homework or find tutoring for specific subjects.  Parents want to know that the adult tutors there are real, qualified teachers with the ability to skillfully aid their children as they progress through school.  The HomeworkClub.bc.ca is such a place.  Students in grades K-12 connect online in real time virtual classrooms to discuss subjects, questions, and ideas under the supervision of qualified teachers. This service is accessible 4-10pm weekdays and 10-10pm on weekends.  Student members attend when it is convenient for them, no appointment necessary.


1 Barrie Carter { 11.28.09 at 4:21 pm }

Hello Sharon:

Yes, you have piqued my interest, for I am a practicing middle school teacher in the public school system as well as a former tutor in the private sector.

In turn, I am intrigued by this venture because it will educate me more as a teacher and as an investor.

I look forward to knowing more.



2 jennie wong { 11.30.09 at 6:07 pm }


Your link is not working for me. It keeps on bringing me back into this blog. Is this correct b/c your pitch is one that I am analyzing.


3 jennie wong { 11.30.09 at 7:46 pm }


I do like the idea of having a homework club for all students. It would definitely come in handy for those hours when students are doing their homework. Often times, they are stuck on a question and become discouraged. Having this homework club will allow students to overcome these hurdles and complete their assignments. Excellent pitch.

4 Erik Van Dusen { 11.30.09 at 8:16 pm }

I like this idea and I’m interested in learning more. Are you planning to share your entire venture pitch?

5 Cari Wilson { 11.30.09 at 8:27 pm }


This sounds great! I’d like to know more, as yours is one of the pitches I’m reviewing, but when I try to go to the site it says the link is broken….


6 dockat { 12.01.09 at 9:47 am }

Yes, I also find the link is bringing me back here. I did find the concept very interesting! It left me wondering how this would work…Kathleen

7 Tony D { 12.01.09 at 1:29 pm }

Having trouble accessing your full pitch. Feel free to email me at dipalmaan@hotmail.com

8 Tony D { 12.02.09 at 12:02 am }

Hi Sharon

I believe you have a sound idea of what you will provide here with your venture. I see a large market for this as many students are in need of tutors. I think it is an excellent choice to only employ BC teachers and the way to promote the idea of safety is a great marketing tool for get parents interested in the service. The fact that so many students these days are on the internet is very true and the thought of studying using their computer my actually entice them to want to be tutored! I also think your three tiered payment system is a great idea as students will often not receive tutoring until after midterm in many cases when poor reports have reached home, but offering the full year program is a great way to lock in monthly income for really interested students and parents.

My concern here is with lack of numbers. You make little mention of real numbers costs that will be incurred by the creation of the web based platform, which I would expect will be the most important and costly tool your company will invest in. Also the lack of consideration to costs of resources like the elibrary and test and exam banks leaves me wondering. You will either need to have someone create those things or use materials created by publishers or outside companies, either way there will be considerable fees. As employing teachers will be the backbone of the success of your venture you will need to decide on how you will recruit them and of course pay them.

I think you have a great idea here, there is a market and you have the beginnings of a strong strategy. However without the numbers it is hard to see if the venture will be a financial success. I would be very interested to hear from you again once you have done some number crunching and refining of the venture, until then……. I am out.

9 Iris Chan { 12.02.09 at 12:54 am }

I am interested to see how this would work out within the discussions. I am definitely interested in how the discussions would take place. What would the ratio be in these virtual classrooms? How will these classrooms be managed? So many questions so I guess i do have to find out more.

10 Eveline Yu { 12.02.09 at 6:01 am }

I am also interested in this venture from several perspectives. As a high school teacher, I know that my students are online after school discussing homework on a forum. However, I think an online homework club would benefit them more – as the blind leading the blind is not always effective.

As someone who has worked for a number of years as a private tutor, this is also an exciting opportunity. I would love to join your company if it means I can make money without commuting to each students’ house.

I think if you can have parents involved and be able to let them know that it’s a real certified teacher teaching/tutoring the students, then you have a great business going.

I would be interested in looking into your venture more closely. Great work!

11 Sharon Hann { 12.02.09 at 7:41 am }

Thanks for the feedback everyone. Please use the email above at the end of my pitch to request the full version. Tony, thanks for you request for numbers. As you will see in the full version at the end under self evaluation, I am stuck on the question of whether or not teachers will work on commission. ie will teachers agree to say $3 per student per hour, so if they have a class of 10 – $30 hr, class of 50… etc or will they insist on a set hourly wage? This single question has huge implications for profitability. A model where employees accept feast and famine along with a company is much easier to number out. I’ve worked on this basis in the past (non-teaching) and it can be very lucrative for the employee, but will teachers buy in? I would love feedback on that question. Anyone?

12 Erik Van Dusen { 12.02.09 at 9:19 pm }

Hi Sharon,

Thank you for sharing your full venture pitch with me. I really like your idea and I think you may be onto something quite lucrative here. As a teacher, I’m going to guess that 25% of my middle years students access the services of a private tutor at some point during their years at K-12 school. However, this number should be higher, much higher-about 75%. I’m guessing that some of the barriers you identify in your pitch are impeding access to tutoring or extra help/practice. Nowadays, people want services that are quick, convenient, and provide some degree of anonymity, almost a drive thru window approach. By providing your service online and under a variety of cost structures, you make it easy for students to receive the help they need and want. Additionally, the parents will be thrilled to know that the environment is safe and communication lines can stay open. Overall, your idea is quite clever and there is likely a huge market for waiting for you!

As you point out in your EVA, there are some obstacles that need to be addressed if you’re going to be successful, most notably the issue with how to pay your employees. I don’t have a solution for you; sorry. What I can say is that sometimes the hours and expertise required to develop a resource like this one is underestimated and it may take a lot longer, and cost a lot more, than you think to get your service up and running. What you really need is to convince some BC teachers to agree to do some part-time evening work to supplement their income. I think most would find online tutoring a nice change in pace compared to the busy classroom. So, assembling your workforce far in advance is probably key to your success.

Overall, solid idea here that could be scalable or expanded outside of BC. As an investor, I’d be in!

13 Erica T { 12.02.09 at 10:18 pm }

Here is my formal review of your pitch as an EVA:

Your elevator pitch highlights that any alternative way of allowing students to get help with their difficulties in school could be a viable offering.

The elevator pitch leaves you looking for more details, so that is where your full pitch comes in. I like the idea of the homework club being collaborative and anonymous – both are keys to success.

I do really like that the quiz results are immediate and the email updates to parents will definitely keep them informed as to the effectiveness of the service.

I also felt that there was not enough risk assessment or financial summary provided for me to make my investment decision. I wonder who will staff the online site (current working teachers?) and what kind of salary to offer. I, like other respondents, can’t answer that question either. Tough one.

I would want to know how you would compete with free services provided online by the Ministry of Education, however I don’t believe these sites are staffed by live teachers, which would give much more value to your product.

Since I am limited to only investing in 3 out of the 10 companies I was introduced to, I have to say that I would keep my eye out for your company and when I am in a position to invest again, hopefully I won’t be too late for your company. ☺

14 Colin Cheng { 12.04.09 at 3:28 pm }


I am going to start off by saying that you made a very convincing pitch and one that was not easy to ignore. In the end, as I only had the ability to invest in 3 out of 10 new ventures, I had to pass on yours. It was a tough decision but here are a few reasons why I did not choose your venture based on your elevator pitch:

* I am not convinced of the viability and practicality of online tutoring. I know that many students take online courses but that is different from tutoring.
* I am also not convinced that you can appeal to the market that you claim to be servicing. As a former primary teacher, I find it a little unbelievable that you could offer online tutoring to primary aged children
* even if online tutoring were possible, I would want to be assured of other features in this service such as programs that would allow students and tutorers to interact visually. Currently, it appears as though interaction is mostly conducted through discussions.

15 dockat { 12.04.09 at 6:05 pm }

Did my request for the link get through to you yesterday? Still hoping for the link, Kathleen

16 Barrie Carter { 12.04.09 at 7:31 pm }

Hello Sharon:

I enjoyed examining your pitch.

In Google.ca and Bing, I typed in ‘online homework companies’; a list of online homework businesses came up.

In turn, competition, in one form or another, already exists. I suspect that your company would be listed somewhere on the first page, hopefully. After all, that front/first page is like the Yellow Pages listing.

As well, will qualified/certified/experienced teachers agree to work less than what they make at their day job? To find qualified/certified/inexperienced teachers who are TOCs, looking for continuing contracts, or fresh out of university exists, but will they be committed to your company for long periods?

Tutors working for learning centers like Sylvan make only $12-$15/hr. This is low for tutors, but high for some clients (i.e. the parents). As such, would your business pay less, as much, or more in wages? The profit margin may be too narrow even if you turn your business into a franchise.

However, because this venture is on line, the number of clients could be great, which is appealing to me. In turn, I will keep an eye on this venture to see how it measures up to other like-minded businesses.



17 Ammar Al-Attiyat { 12.06.09 at 5:49 pm }

Hi Sharon,

As a formal EVA for your venture, let me start by congratulating you for the excellent work you did. Both your elevator and full pitch were clearly and professionally drafted. As you noted, despite the visual impact of videos, I agree that persuasive words still have their own charm.

I find your venture has many positive points such as;
– Market Focus; it’s approaching BC students as a starting phase.

– Distinguishing your service by emphasizing on the “Real”, qualified and certified tutors who are operating the service.

– The parents reports the web site will provide automatically.

But in order to decide for an investment decision to go or no go, crucial information was missing, most importantly is the venture $ value you’re looking for. So assuming you’ll provided further appendices to your venture proposal, I would encourage you to cover the following;
– How would HomeWorkClub.bc.ca would compete with the “Free” LearnNowBC.com ?!

– Please provide statistics tables of BC students (ps: the link http://www.ciponline.ca/en/intro.htm took me to a blank page)

– I was under the impression that your venture would provide 1-to-1 tutoring within the default subscription service, then I found it’s provided for extra cost. Worth re-considering as parent will buy in based on this service.

– How about off-shore BC schools? Worth considering them and note that 4 to 10:00 PM time zone might not suite them.

As said, I will hold back my decision until I read the second round draft.

Good luck,

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