10,000 students, dozens of schools: South Florida’s YTeach is top of class in edtech innovation

By Krysten Brenlla

Juggling different subject areas, extracurricular activities, and the anxiety of getting through high school are just a few worries that students encounter as they say goodbye to summer and hello to fall. As the school year gets more rigorous, some students may need the extra push academically, and finding a tutor to help after school can seem like a daunting and impossible task.

That’s where YTeach comes in – a South Florida education-technology startup, founded by Matias Aviñó, a junior at Belen Jesuit Preparatory School, alongside his mother and local lawyer, Lourdes Aviñó, that helps schools support peer-to-peer tutoring.

In 2020, Refresh Miami sat down with the Aviñós to learn more about YTeach, their goals, and how they were navigating amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since then, the startup has only continued to grow, with new updates and partnerships at the local and national level  – specifically to enhance students’ relationship with school, their peers, and, most importantly, learning.

“When we first connected with Refresh Miami, we had just launched our beta mobile app at a single school here in Miami; it was pretty exciting, but we’ve grown a lot since then,” said Lourdes Aviñó, co-founder of YTeach. “As we grew, we started learning what was really important for students and started integrating that within the app; we’ve learned so much about EdTech and the school system in general, which we’re really excited about.”

Since 2020, YTeach has grown to service nearly 40 schools; has connected more than 10,000 students; and has integrated new features in their mobile app such as ‘first tutor available,’ a feature that allows students to book tutors within 30 minutes.

“The first tutor available feature is like requesting an Uber,” Lourdes continued. “Some students who inevitably procrastinate to prepare for exams or projects may need that extra help last minute, so the feature will send an alert to all tutors who are approved at their school and subject area. The first one to respond will accept the session and start the tutoring session within 30 minutes.”

In addition to the ‘first tutor available’ feature, YTeach has expanded into a web-based platform, so students who may not have access to a mobile device can still use YTeach online.

“Our mission has always been to try to help everyone,” Matias Aviñó said. “Not everyone has an iPhone or not every school has the budget to use Apple devices, so we wanted to expand our services for Android and online users to be as inclusive as possible.”

When looking at data from last school year to this year, the Aviñós have seen a 600 percent increase in tutoring sessions using YTeach, both on the mobile app and online. They’ve also launched the program at their first K-8 school, St. Patrick’s in Miami Beach, which has helped younger students gain independence and confidence with technology, while building relationships with older students.

Additionally, YTeach has been showcased at eMerge Americas and they were also selected to participate in Techstars Catalyst program last year and Endeavor Miami’s EndeavorLAB cohort for Latinx founders this year, where the Aviñós focused on refining YTeach’s business strategies and mobile/online developments alongside other local entrepreneurs and founders. Since YTeach is a free service for students, to continue fundraising for YTeach, the Aviñós are looking to land grants with different fundraising programs at the local and national level.

“With YTeach, we’ve really been able to build a strong and positive community that just keeps growing,” Lourdes said. “Miami is our home, and we’re so proud of the connections we’ve made in this community with local schools that we drive by every day. We’re so excited to know that they’re building an even tighter community with their students through YTeach.”

For the future, the Aviñós are working on onboarding even more schools and students to YTeach at the local and national level. They’re also working on expanding YTeach to more federal programs for schools in need. Additionally, Matias is graduating soon from Belen, and looks forward to studying business and engineering in college.

“Whenever we get an email from a parent or teacher that says how much YTeach has helped their child or student, despite how hard the day was for us, we say, ‘oh, that’s our why,’” Lourdes said. “We’re helping the students, and we’re helping the family to feel better and get through difficult times so students can be the best they can be.”

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Krysten Brenlla