Despite the presence of many online and offline coaching institutes, majority of students get stuck on different topics or questions while self-studying. The anxiety and stress they face for not finding the right support and tutor at the right time leaves many of them demotivated.This was the idea behind , started by Imbesat Ahmad, Shadman Anwer, and Rohit Kumar in 2020. The Gurugram-based startup is an instant live tutoring platform that allows students to connect with a tutor within 60 seconds, 24×7.This means, if one wants to clear a doubt or understand something, they can dial a tutor on Filo and seek help even at 4:00 am on a Sunday morning.Our purpose is to create an experience where learning is not driven by force. Normally, all learning takes place as data transfer from the resource side, with no opportunity for students to speak up first. We want learning to be driven by students, says Ahmad.Starting FiloBack in 2020, while working at his educational institute, Rise, Ahmad was struck by a thought. I was thinking of something like , but for education, he says.A chance interaction with a student made him ponder that having access to a tutor at homewhenever one wanted to discuss somethingcould help.The student told me that while they [students] feel they have understood everything sitting in a class, assimilating the same at home does not go as easily, Ahmad recalls.Back then, Ahmad was in touch with his schoolmate Shadman Anwer, and the two had also studied together for engineering at the educational programme Super 30 in Bihar.Upon learning of what Ahmad had in mind, Anwer connected him with his colleague Rohit Kumar.The idea of a platform that would make tutors available round the clock struck a chord with all three techies. Eventually, the trio co-founded Filo in 2020.The workingsAt present, Filo is available for students from grades 6 to 12, in British, American, International Baccalaureate (IB), and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) curricula. The covered subjects include mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and English.A students issue can be as simple as understanding a paragraph. Or say something that was taught to them a while ago, which they are unable to understand or recall now, says Ahmad.Filo runs on algorithms that help a student find the most appropriate tutor.These are based on a students profile, the problem they are stuck with, and more. We find around four to five apt tutors, and one of them gets connected to the student, Ahmad explains.When a student wishes to connect with a tutor, they upload a picture of the particular topic they need help with. Once connected, the one-on-one live tutoring begins. The students can also select and earmark preferred tutors, and depending on their availability, get connected with the same tutor(s) on a regular basis.The length of each session depends on the students interest.Filo is available on Android, iOS, as well as on Chromebook. The app has a rating of 4.7 on iOS.Focus on the Middle EastEdtech is on the rise in the Middle East. The edtech and smart classroom market in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) is expected to grow from $3,565.0 million in 2019 to $7,626.1 million by 2027, as per a report by ReportLinker.The growth is estimated at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.8% between 2020 to 2027.Last year, the Gurugram-based startup secured significant traction from the Middle East.Today, Filo has over 36,000 total registered users from the GCC region. Additionally, it records over 12,500 monthly active users from the GCC.Globally, an estimated 100,000 students use the platform on a daily basis.Along the way, the team has ensured that language does not become a barrier. The tutors on the platform can teach in 12 different languages, including Arabic, Hindi, and English.When a student gets onboarded in the Middle East, first we get to know their curriculum, which in turn helps us decide on teaching styles. We also ask them about their preferred language or about the language of their textbook. Depending on their input, we connect them to a bilingual tutor, says Ahmad.We are curriculum agnostic. Through our matching algorithm, we are able to match a student to a topic expert from where the question has come from. For instance, upon asking a question from Trigonometry, the students will be matched with a tutor who is an expert in the topic Trigonometry and not just a Math tutor, he adds.At present, the startup has an office in Dubai. Since expansion, Ahmad and the team have focused on establishing personal relationships and expanding the user community.We are focusing on community-driven marketing, shares Ahmad. He adds that the primary cities in focus are Dubai and Abu Dhabi.We want to make a significant impact in these cities first, make it very visible, and then create a copy of it, he says.At present, Filo has over 60,000 tutors from 15 countries, primarily India and the US. These comprise both in-house and freelance tutors. Out of the total, there are close to 1,000 freelance tutors from the Middle East.The in-house tutors work according to the regular shifts assigned to them. The freelance tutors work on a consulting model, where they are paid as per clocked man-hours.With this, the freelance tutors have complete control over the time they decide to teach and can log in whenever they want. Those who work at night are incentivised for their services, which is expected to ensure availability round the clock.The non-teaching team comprises of around 300 individuals.In the GCC, our offering is close to $900 for a year on a subscription basis, with unlimited access to all subjects. The same can be availed at $100 per month on a subscription basis, highlights Ahmad.He adds that pricing varies across countries. It depends on industry teaching price standards, curricula, purchasing capacity, and more.In 2022, the startup raised $23 million in a Series A funding round led by Anthos Capital.Currently, Filo competes with the likes of Jordan-based Abwaab, Montreal-based Paper, and Missouri-based Varsity Tutors, among others.From the UAE, we aim to reach Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia. These countries will be our immediate next stops in the Middle East. Simultaneously, we are double tapping in the US as well, says Ahmad. (Edited by Megha Reddy)