Interview: Karen Roosileht


1. Who are you, and what do you do?

I’m Karen Roosileht, the founder of EdTech Startup – the world’s friendliest tutoring marketplace.

Our mission is to provide a wholesome learning experience by connecting tutors and students and equipping both with class management & learning management tools. Our goal is to become one of the leading global education marketplaces. We want to utilize cutting-edge technology to bring tutoring to a new level. Our vision is futuristic and includes interaction with AI. 

Currently there aren’t products that help professionalize tutoring, so we took up this challenge by providing a structure that facilitates the tutoring process. The tutoring we provide isn’t only school-related – we’ve also created the opportunity for smart professionals to monetize their knowledge and provide all sorts of fun learning experiences.

Since tutoring is a premium service, and we were keen to move beyond a pricing model controlled by education marketplaces, we allow professionals to choose their pricing. This means we can attract talents from US Ivy League universities and other premium tutors. Students, and parents especially, are more quality-sensitive than price-sensitive. 

I have been working in education for more than 11 years (including as a tutor), so I am aware of the challenges of the industry. We would like to disrupt agencies and other marketplaces and make the world a hyper school where tutors don’t need to give away 70% of the money they earn. Our platform allows students to pay less and tutors to earn more. 

2. What will you be talking about at the conference in Canada?

I’ll be taking part in two panels: one to share my start-up story with founders in different industries; and in the second I’ll be talking about e-learning and innovation with peers in the same industry. I’m extremely excited to participate! My personal goal is to make the audience smarter about the challenges in education and the surging trends that will shape our future.

3. Why do you think Estonia is such a leader in technology?

Estonia has a commendable e-government that has been introducing technological innovations for decades now – reducing bureaucracy by replacing paper applications with online ones, for instance, and launching innovative programs such as e-residency. Estonia has also a strong educational system, and technology-related lessons have been incorporated into the curriculum. There are so many elements that have contributed to Estonia establishing itself as a leader in tech.

4. What advice would you give to someone who is interested in getting into this field?

The educational system as we know it must change; it is outdated and not engaging for the new generations, so I encourage whoever is passionate about education to jump in and innovate! There are many local & global EdTech founders’ communities – which are hives of activity, populated with friendly, cooperative founders. It is not easy to found a company and build something from nothing, but if the motivation comes from the right place, to build something that will make a difference, then I highly recommend it – go for it! Go go go!

5. What excites you about coming to Canada?

Canada has always been on my personal radar – it is a country I’ve always wanted to visit. I believe it is one of the best countries in the Western world because it is peaceful, multicultural and is the country from the Americas that invests the most in the education of their citizens (Canada has the highest proportion of college graduates in the world). It makes a lot of sense that Canada is such a tolerant country – it is one of the benefits that you naturally get from learning. The more we learn, the more tolerant and understanding we are.

Another reason to like the country is its efforts to bring gender equality. On behalf of other female founders, thank you Canada for being a role model for other countries to follow.

Marika Mayfield