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Students can study with instructors in-person or via an online live learning platform. (Photo via Varsity Tutors).
Students can study with instructors in-person or via an online live learning platform. (Photo via Varsity Tutors).

Varsity Tutors, a St. Louis-based company that connects instructors with students for online and in-person tutoring sessions, is setting up shop in Seattle. Today, the company announced the opening of its new office at Seattle’s Pier 56, led by Ian Clarkson, the former Amazon exec who most recently headed up product and technology for Sears Home Services.

Ian Clarkson
Ian Clarkson

The Seattle expansion follows the company’s $50 million Series B round, which closed in November. Varsity Tutors plans to use the new capital to scale and build out its products. The company says it chose Seattle for its pool of tech talent and proximity to Victoria, B.C., where many of its developers currently reside.

“We starting looking around for where we could build out a product dev design organization that was going to fit within the existing footprint that we have,” said Clarkson, who will lead the new office as president and chief operating officer for Varsity Tutors.

Clarkson joined Varsity Tutors in January, leaving his role as COO of Sears Home Services. Before Sears, he spent 15 years at Amazon building out a variety of products including AmazonFresh.

Varsity Tutors brought Clarkson on to lead its 10-person Seattle team. The company is hiring 30 additional employees in Seattle and plans to expand to 50 over the next two years. Varsity Tutors is primarily interested in bringing on software developers, designers, and product managers and hopes to mine Seattle’s rich supply of skilled tech workers.

Clarkson and his team also plan to bring on a chief product officer and head of design to help Varsity build out new products.

“I think Seattle has become known as a place for consumer-facing digital products … with companies like Microsoft and Amazon anchoring the Puget Sound region as a place to come and set up shop,” Clarkson said.

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