After Raising $1.8 Million, Y Combinator Startup Tutorspree Shuts Down

Alyson Shontell

The hardest decision a founder can make is knowing when to throw in the towel. Tutorspree, a company that was founded in 2011 and raised $1.8 million, just did that. 

Tutorspree was a platform that connected local tutors to students in need. It graduated from the prestigious startup accelerator program, Y Combinator and was founded by a former Wall Street worker, Aaron Harris, along with Josh Abrams and Ryan Bednar.

"Ultimately, we learned about the challenges of willing a company into existence, of building an incredible and unique team to tackle constantly shifting challenges," the founders wrote this morning on the company's blog. "And finally, we learned about how to make the toughest decision of all - to shut Tutorspree down, not because it was not a business, but because we could not make it the company we wanted."

Tutorspree is one of a few startups to close recently in New York City, but PandoDaily's Erin Griffith says it didn't shut down for financial reasons. It was able to secure $800,000 from Resolute.vc earlier this year. Griffith says the trio will be returning remaining money to investors. 

Instead, the problem may have been what the founders wrote: that they were "willing a company into existence." And sometimes, businesses can't be forced. Griffith says the company was too reliant on Google traffic, suggesting the founders failed to build a loyal user base and a go-to brand. 

Here's the letter the founders wrote this morning:

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