Founder and CEO
COMPANY: HelpHub Services Inc.
The Story: Growing up in Caracas, Venezuela, Miguel Kudry admits to being a terrible student (“I did summer school every year in high school”). Rather than hit the books, Kudry fooled around on the Internet, teaching himself to code and launching several projects, including an Internet radio station and a photo-sharing site. When his online endeavours started making money, Kudry’s mother saw potential and encouraged him to save up. That cash partially financed a move immediately after high school to Vancouver, where he spent a year brushing up on his English skills before studying business at Douglas College. Again he was confronted with his scholastic limitations, and after failing a few courses Kudry came up with the idea for HelpHub: an open marketplace that allows students and tutors to connect through instant message on an as-needed basis. Instead of offering formal tutoring sessions, HelpHub lets students get help in whatever form they need, whether it’s just a quick clarification on a homework question or ongoing support with a difficult class. Tutors set their own price—charging by the question, minute or hour—while HelpHub takes a 15 per cent commission. Student reviews provide a degree of quality control. “It was a way to solve my own problem,” Kudry says.
Markers of Success: Since its launch in 2013, HelpHub has grown to include more than 8,000 tutors, tens of thousands of students and five employees. The company has also partnered with UBC and Concordia University in Edmonton to expand their tutoring services. Kudry (who was part of the 2015-16 cohort for the Next Big Thing startup accelerator program) has additionally raised $350,000 in angel investments and is in the process of securing another $1.5 million to grow the company.
PHOTO: ADAM BLASBERG