VentureBeat and Medium reported two days ago that GotIt!, a chat service that connects users with experts for 10 minutes, had secured over US$9 million for its series A and seed rounds.
US-based Capricorn Investment Group and eBay cofounder Jeff Skoll led the series A investment, while Fosun Group’s Brad Bao participated in the seed round.
Dr. Tran Viet Hung, the app creator, revealed on April 30 that Capricorn had inked a deal to provide the investment late last year.
The startup developer, however, has not announced it until now to keep their strategies from being disclosed.
During the negotiation process, which took between four and five months, Capricorn took GotIt!’s ideas, vision, products, key staffers and finance into close consideration before proceeding with the paperwork and working out terms, Dr. Hung added.
GotIt! is an app that connects learners with a study expert who offers them step-by-step help through their homework.
Users, mostly slacking teenagers who tend to struggle with homework and deadlines at night, can raise detailed questions in English on GotIt! via their smartphones, before the system automatically connects them with available study experts in the fields related to the questions in just under ten seconds using GotIt! Algorithm, Dr. Hung explained earlier.
The most suitable expert will ‘claim’ the user and spend around ten minutes talking with them to guide them through the problem.
Dr. Hung’s idea for the tutoring app can be traced back to 2011, when he was still a doctoral fellow in computer science at the University of Iowa in the U.S.
He used to work as a private tutor at the time to provide for his studies, and he soon realized that the demand for private tutors was very high.
In order to realize his idea, Hung began participating in as many contests as he could to collect prize money, and was eventually able to save around $60,000 to launch his first startup, Tutor Universe.
Tutor Universe, which initially proved an instant success, did not have much potential to grow as the product’s market was quite saturated at the time.
With that in mind, Dr. Hung and his team began working on a change in strategy in October 2013, switching their focus to the mobile app market that eventually resulted in GotIt!.
Unlike other similar services, Dr. Hung focused his app on minimizing the time it takes for a question to be answered, as GotIt! connects users with study experts in almost an instant, who will soon provide them with detailed explanations.
GotIt! currently boasts a network of 40,000 study experts across the globe who provide answers to questions mostly in the fields of math, chemistry, and physics.
The app now offers new users 12 free sessions in the first two weeks of registration, after which the users will be charged a nominal fee for each session.
According to Marc Yi, director at Intel Capital, GotIt! has a growth rate of 40 percent a month, with much potential for further development.
Dr. Hung said in the future GotIt! will expand its expertise to social sciences, communications, and others to offer service to a wider user base, and encourage better participation of Vietnamese experts.