Knowledge of the English can be a basic requirement for many internationally-related positions and serve as an advantage when you are competing against similar candidates. English has long been taught in schools throughout the former USSR, but it is often not enough today. You can turn to language schools or try to find a private tutor, but you still need to ensure that you are getting a good deal.
Early last year, Ukrainian entrepreneur Kirill Bigai, co-founder of findGuru.me, a service for training prospective app-developers, found that connecting with a suitable English tutor is not simple and decided to therefore create his own: Preply.
Backed by $170K from investors like Ukrainian accelerator Eastlabs, Vostok Ventures, and private investors Semyon Dukach, Torben Majgaard, Taras Kirichenko, Mikhail Miroshnichenko, Vadim Yasinovsky, and Boris Shakhnovich, the service has attracted more than 5,100 users and aims to become a worldwide leader in the English-tutoring market.
Unlike competitors Verbling and italki, which offer online lessons and Skype connections with tutors, Preply is language-based and wants to offer the option of online or offline connections. Another difference is that Preply exclusively targets students looking to build their English-language skills, while the other services have a broader focus and offer sections for those interested in learning other languages.
At the moment, students can find tutors in various cities in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. As it is a marketplace, tutors who promote themselves on the site can list places for offline tutoring, as well as specialities, availability, their fee, and so on. There are more than 2,100 tutors listed on the Preply website, which fees ranging from 200 Rubles ($6) to 3,000 Rubles ($88) per hour. Like many marketplaces, the company takes a commission based on transactions completed. If students only spend 1 hour with a tutor, Preply takes the full 100%, but then 33% for 2-hour sessions and on down the scale.