/// Start-Up Slader Looks to Solve the Math Homework Problem

December 4, 2011  |  All Things Digital

Slader , a quiet New York-based start-up, is picking away at what the school-attending quarter of this country’s population would probably list as the biggest pain point in their young lives. Homework. Of course, textbook publishers, test-prep services and an army of private tutors have been making a fortune from it for decades. But co-founders Scott Kolb and Kyle Gerrity are building a service to take homework help, or at least math homework help, in a new direction. For those readers who haven’t been assigned math homework in a while, let me set the stage. A high school pre-calculus teacher, using one of five or so major math textbooks on the subject, assigns homework — let’s say Chapter 1, Section 1, problems 1-30. Remember to show your work. Most of these text books have solution sets in the back, usually only for every other problem. Are you having terrible high school flashbacks yet? The answers in the back are almost always just that, numerical answers, and offer no help to someone who hasn’t any idea how they might arrive at that answer on their own. Solutions is where Slader steps in. Slader spent all last summer with a bunch of math nerds, developing step-by-step solutions to most of the math problems in most of the high school math books used in this country — at last count, that’s about a million solutions in 275 textbooks. Slader users, who are a mix of math students and the parents tasked with homework help, log in to the Web-based service and spend “points” to see the fully-formed solutions, and, hopefully, to learn something as well. Users pay for blocks of points, or subscribe for an allotment of points every day, or they buy “gold,” which is transferable to other Slader users and can be converted to points. While this might sound overly complicated, the reason for the monetary obfuscation has to do with the convoluted economics of high school finances. Co-founder Kolb explained: “Our customers are sometimes parents who have credit cards, but we are also seeing demand from students, many of whom do conduct transactions online even if they don’t have a card to do it with

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Start-Up Slader Looks to Solve the Math Homework Problem

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