Creating "A-HA" moments

It all started when Hung Tran got the idea during his time as a computer science and math tutor at the University of Iowa. He did not have enough time to teach all of the students who wanted his help. At the same time, other tutors didn’t have any students to teach. Tran saw an opportunity and began thinking about a way to connect students with tutors using technology - regardless of their physical location and availability.

GotIt! was formed at the University of Iowa in 2011, and was originally named Tutor Universe. As an entrepreneur, Tran looked for resources for startups in the Iowa City area and discovered the Bedell Entrepreneurship Learning Laboratory (BELL). He says the BELL, as well as Iowa JPEC student competitions and classes, gave him the foundation and knowledge to create and run a startup. Tran and his business partner, Thomas Hornbeck, were awarded the Student Startup of the Year Award in 2012. They also won several first-place prizes in elevator pitch and business plan competitions that same year.

This entrepreneurial foundation, combined with Tran and Hornbeck's innovative spirits, helped them to launch their company. In 2013, Tran and Hornbeck moved Tutor Universe to California to participate in the Studio 9+ program offered by the YouWeb Incubator. It was there that the business pivoted, taking on a new name, going mobile, and ultimately finding its niche.

GotIt! works like this: learners ask a question about a certain field of study, an expert in that field is instantly matched with that learner for a 10-minute session, the expert teaches the learner about their field of study (no cheating, real teaching) and helps them to find an answer to their question. Can’t learn enough to answer the question in ten minutes? No problem! GotIt! makes it easy to add on extra time.

The app is currently in beta testing and is growing every day. GotIt! has facilitated over 2.5 million live chat sessions between experts and students to date. They also reached #2 in the Education category of the Apple App Store in the U.S., and currently hold a 4.4 star rating in the Google Play App Store. While the app is geared toward high school and college students searching for late-night answers in science or math, the GotIt! team plans to add experts in subject areas outside of STEM.

An additional proud moment for the company, GotIt! recently raised over $9 million in Seed and Series A rounds from Silicon Valley venture capital firms.

For student entrepreneurs trying to get their business off the ground, Tran says, “You should first look for a solution to a problem that many people have, then build a product based on it. This way, at least you have a chance to build something that people really need. Many startups spend a lot of time building something cool, but no one wants it.”

GotIt!’s success is proving that Tran’s advice holds true. The company is continuing to improve their services to give users the best possible experience, and is quickly overtaking the typical tutoring model that has been unchanged for so long.

Find out more about GotIt! by visiting