Epihub (YC S20) – Shopify for teaching online

Hey HN! I’m Uday, and I co-founded Epihub [0] with Kwasi and Michael (https://epihub.com). Epihub is Shopify for teaching online. Our software lets you schedule, meet, and bill clients from your own website.

A few years ago, we started building a product called Epigrammar, which was a collaborative document annotation tool that let teachers rapidly give feedback to their students by identifying trends in their feedback. Kwasi and I really wanted to see if we could scale the tutoring experience to an entire classroom, since my co-founder Mike was teaching Classics at a private school in Connecticut while running a non-profit tutoring program in Latin/Greek for public school students in New York. Mike would try out our products that we had built over the weekend during the week (sometimes to success), but oftentimes, things were not actually helping him teach. That’s when we'd go back to the drawing board. We spent a few years experimenting with different ideas in edtech trying to scale tutoring, as we obsessed over Bloom’s 2 sigma problem [1] including Superhuman for grading and even a test generator that could build assessments based on “backward-design [2]. We all lived together in Manhattan, built stuff, and would send it out to Mike to see what worked and what didn't.

This spring, however, as COVID-19 shut down local businesses across the city (we still live in New York), we realized that there were much bigger problems facing tutoring, coaching, and training businesses like Mike's: bringing the actual business online.

Whether you want to start up a coding bootcamp or run a tutoring business, you need a handful of products that are (ideally) white-labeled: a website builder, a way to process application forms, a CRM, a system to book appointments, a ticketing system for virtual classes, virtual classrooms, invoicing, and paystub tracking. When we spoke with tutors, coaches, and trainers, it was clear that there was a similar problem facing many different but similar businesses. How do you handle appointments? How do you handle virtual classes? How do you manage your team’s schedules?

We spent our summer trying to build everything end-to-end, and finally, we’re excited to share that product with you today. Epihub lets you build a website (or embeds into your existing website) and also comes with a full system to schedule, meet, and bill clients in one place (you can change all the buttons, images, and language within your account to reflect your business so you can rename your employees to instructors or your currency to Solari).

Similarly, you’re working online with individuals or groups, you can start teaching anyone on username.epihub.com and easily grow your entire team by adding additional seats for new instructors to manage their schedules and paystubs. So far, we’ve been working with tutors, coaches, trainers, but we have seen a bunch of interesting use-cases as well (including someone who wants to set up Epihub for virtual wine tasting and tours).

The stack actually borrows a lot from our original product: it’s an Elixir/Phoenix application with a React frontend. We have a Zoom and Google Calendar integration, so you’ll also see appointments and requests in your calendar, as each hub comes with yoursubdomain.epihub.com/reserve to handle bookings from prospective clients. It's like a Calendly built to scale your team’s operations by syncing up invoicing, paystubs, and virtual classrooms. (Recently, we’ve been contemplating Liquid templating, and we’re considering building a Wordpress plugin. If anyone has worked with Liquid, Kwasi and I would love to chat.)

If there’s anyone running a coaching, tutoring, or training business, or coding bootcamp, we'd love to hear how we could support your team. You can also book a personal onboarding with Mike over Zoom (https://vip.epihub.com/reserve).

Finally, I’ve been a member of HN for as long as I can remember. I’ve had my share of unfinished projects, and things I’ve been a bit nervous to launch here. I didn’t think I ever would launch anything, so this is pretty exciting. I’ll be online all day with my co-founders to chat about Epihub, tutoring, backward design, or Elixir in no specific order!

[0]: https://epihub.com

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloom%27s_2_sigma_problem

[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backward_design

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andrey azimov by Andrey Azimov