Taling is an online platform which provides a service of matching tutors and tutees for students to use their spare time in a more productive way. Photo provided by Taling.
Students are wandering around the campus in their free time between classes. They soon find a place to sit and become lost in their smartphones. Although many of them want to spend time doing something more productive, they just choose to spend their time sitting down, as spare time between classes seems to be too short for them to visit different places to learn something practical.
On the other hand, students utilizing Taling in their spare time can learn a variety of things from second languages and styling tips to consultation for résumés at a place and time convenient both for the tutor and tutee. For those who would like to spend their spare time learning, Taling has been providing a learning service by matching a tutor with tutees during their free time.
Established by four Korea University students in July 2015, Taling is an online platform that provides a matching service between a tutor and a tutee in a variety of subjects. These students wanted to figure out a way for university students to spend their spare time more wisely.
“I met my first business partner in a class last year and developed ideas for Taling,” said Kim Yun-hwan, one of the founders of Taling. “We specified the idea when we were writing a business plan as an assignment for the class.”
Kim and his partner got their inspiration for Taling from two different situations: when they had to give up their desires to learn something due to the lack of time or the long distance to the learning center, and when they had nothing to do in their free time between classes.
In addition, Kim felt sad about seeing people having talents unused and just preparing for their career to get a job at large companies or as public officials. Kim thought it was a waste of talent, which inspired him to think of a system like Taling.
Then, Kim began to connect people who are willing to provide their talents as tutors with those who are willing to learn from them, and gave these tutors the opportunity for financial benefits as well. Once Taling finds out the needs of students in terms of their interests, it matches the students with tutors at a price much lower than the average market price.
When the first class, a dance class, was offered on the Taling website by a tutor, as 9 people registered for that class, which was good for a start. Then more tutors began to provide more classes, that now span many different subjects such as history, calligraphy, and DJing. With the extended number of classes, the number of tutees soon increased.
Keeping the classes offered by tutors in good quality is also an important part to consider in the service. Therefore, Taling goes through a strict process to guarantee high quality classes by checking previous experience of tutor applicants and by interviewing them thoroughly. Among many elements, the most important one is to make sure that the tutors are passionate and responsible enough.
“Being good at what they are teaching is very crucial,” Kim pointed out. “However, we do not always look for experts in specific areas. We especially like tutors who can teach people well at their tutees’ level.”
Currently, there are about 400 tutors and 1,500 tutees, and the total number of Taling members reaches nearly 5,000. Taling originally aimed to serve only Korea University students, but later expanded to 15 universities including Ewha, Yonsei, and Seoul National after requests from these schools. Other than students, office workers and ordinary people are participating both as tutors and learners as well.
Although Taling now seems successful as a business, there were many obstacles throughout the process of managing the business. Kim had to learn everything from the bottom up, from managing taxes and accounting to getting investments.
“It was my first time managing a business on my own, so I had to deal with many situations without much help from others,” Kim said. “To overcome these hardships, I meticulously studied all areas related to running a business.”
Going through many ups and downs, Kim is now dreaming of a larger goal of promoting Taling.
“My next goal is to expand the service to not only students but to more office workers,” Kim said. “We are currently seeing an increase in the number of office workers in Taling. I want the service to be more available for them. Furthermore, I would like to expand the service to other countries in the future.”