Thoughts – Chin Wei Seong David ( Founder)
“We want to bring affordable tutoring to everybody. With our online tutoring platform, everybody will be able to access, and get qualified tutors everywhere.
It is a dream, that we are able to bring this platform to the world, not only to Asia and Singapore, but for everybody who wants to get education”
How did your quest towards becoming a founder in this particular domain happen?
My daughter was the motivation behind the idea. She said, “why don’t we start something that helps everybody, tutors as well as kids.”
Locally if we were to engage any foreign tutors, it would be very expensive, but with technology at our doorstep, we are able to meet demands. Online tutoring is not something new. In Asia, and in this part of the world, it’s not a very far-fetched thought anymore.
We want to bring tutors from the UK, US, and make everybody reachable. That’s how the idea came. I have been doing IT for some time. So I had an idea how we could come up with the platform. And that’s the journey.
Identifying the industry demands, how have you been able to achieve the vision you set forth as you forayed ahead in this journey? Did the steps you take help you towards your goal?
Things were never always right. We faced our bumps and challenges along the way. But I would say that with W-tutors, it was the time we entered the market that was right.
With the pandemic, which was of course unfortunate, we were very skeptical, as we launched just before the pandemic started. We were also skeptical as online tutoring was not as widely accepted. People are more used to face-2-face learning formats.
The schools were closed, education came to a standstill. But at the same time, during the pandemic, a lot of competition came up. A Lot of companies came up with the same idea. W-tutors however was different.
With FATAbit, we were able to launch a platform that was more complete compared to our competitors.
About your first sale/deal/transaction and the way it was special?
At the beginning, our main intent was to get tutors as there was no one on the platform earlier. The sign up rate was however better than we thought, as because of the pandemic people were out of jobs, and they were looking for options.
Once we were able to bring tutors onboard, it helped to get our first customer. Even they were skeptical at first, as there was nothing on the site that said we were reputable, and none of the tutors had any students signed up for references.
So it was quite amazing for us when we had the first customer. It was very joyous. It gave us the confidence that we are going in the right direction and things are fine. We have approximately 600 tutors teaching on the platform now, with a much much higher sign up, of 2K or more.
But not all the tutors were willing to work initially. Some were simply trying out the platform as an option and others were exploring how online teaching worked. So we had to filter before we on-boarded them for actual tutoring.
Preparing content for online teaching was a challenge for them, and our main motive was to achieve maximum customer or user satisfaction. Because we felt that always fares well in the long run.
What was your initial annual target? Where are you – far or near to it – in your journey?
No. I think at the start, at infancy, it’s dangerous to set a target. So we made sure that first we were rolling, and made sure the platform worked.
We wanted to create good user experiences, and understand better what they wanted. FATbit has been very good at catering to all our change and upgrade requests. Since I have been in IT, I look out for things to be perfect when they are running, and according to what parents want for their kids.
Where do you see yourself with this venture in the post-pandemic times – say 2 – 5 years down the line?
The dream is to ultimately launch W-Tutors in every part of the world. But that is a very far away target. Right now we want to be more established in Singapore, Hong Kong, all over Asia, and in a couple of years in China.
It does not seem too difficult a destination now as W-tutors have that potential to become a very good learning website for students. Establish completely in Asia first, and then we can see where we go. We want to adopt new technologies as we move along, and as they become available.
Your advice to other businesses facing the same challenges as you did?
The basic message is always ‘not to be afraid’. It’s good to have a dream, but you have to take the first step. Once you have taken the first step, you can dream big, go ahead and make the dream a reality.