It all started...
As many stories do, with a D+ in thermodynamics. All right, maybe just this one. Penji cofounder Ben Holmquist looked around for help but found nothin’. The scene was UC Davis, 2015 - shouldn’t there be someone on campus to sit down with for help?
Ricardo Matsui, on the other hand, was a top CS student working on official UCD apps, while Ben Morrison was an O-Chem tutor who saw a big opportunity in scaling up peer learning. The three teamed up to start work on Penji which began as a peer tutoring marketplace (aka “Uber for Tutors”). Our mission has always been to provide rapid, personalized support to students who need it.
Things progressed in fits and starts, and after connecting 2,000 tutoring sessions, the team got the chance to collaborate with a CU Boulder group called ASAP Tutoring. That program grew by 85% in its first semester with Penji and the team has never looked back. Today, Penji partners with 55 schools, helping to scale up services like tutoring, advising, and career counseling through mobile-first scheduling, streamlined data, and intuitive design.
The college experience was very important to the Penji team, encouraging their passions, intellectual growth, and independence. Penji hopes to be a key partner as colleges adapt to today’s digital world, ensuring that degrees of all types remain important drivers of social mobility and individual achievement.
What's with the Penguin?
First off, his name is Penji, and he likes to be addressed directly.
Second, penguins take care of each other. He's come all the way from the Antarctic to teach us humans how to do the same. Thanks, Penji!