Entrepreneur: Aaron Harris, 26, Ryan Bednar, 25, and Josh Abrams, 27
Funding: About $1 million from investors such as Y Combinator; more funding being raised now
Aaron Harris founded Tutorspree to ensure that students would have access to the same sort of academic help that got him into Harvard. Finding good tutoring was a "word-of-mouth driven, luck-based process" in high school, he says. An increasingly competitive academic atmosphere is driving kids to achieve more, but schools are cutting budgets and teaching jobs. Harris and his co-founders think they can fill that gap.
Wisest funding decision: Paying more attention to the people who were doing the funding than to the size of the checks they were writing. Harris specifically looked for funders who could provide advice on how to patch holes in the company's strategy. "If you don't focus your efforts, you'll end up spinning your wheels endlessly, without actually helping your company," he says.