Preply automates identity verification to massively expand its global tutor network

Preply is an online educational platform that pairs students with remote, private tutors to provide 1:1 lessons. The platform uses a machine learning-powered algorithm to classify and recommend the best, most trustworthy tutors from around the world.

80%
time savings
+15%
increase in tutor conversion

Preply’s mission is to give students access to trustworthy, knowledgeable instructors and empower tutors to share their knowledge safely and securely with their students from anywhere on the globe. 

Already, the company is well on its way to achieving that ambitious goal: Preply’s platform connects more than 80,000 students with instructors from 185 different countries every month.

But Preply’s success didn’t come without big challenges. 

At the core of Preply’s platform is trust: Preply wanted to make sure its students felt completely comfortable using the company’s platform to find trustworthy tutors. To do that, Preply implemented a rigorous identity verification process to confirm the identities of tutors from around the world using their passports and other personal information.

But with the company growing 3x annually, that identification verification process quickly became a problem. Preply’s manual process required multiple team members to spend several hours each day reviewing thousands of passports. The process was tedious, faulty … and it sucked up a ton of the Tutor Success team’s valuable time.

That’s where Persona came in.

Preply worked with Persona to develop an automated onboarding process that was not only more efficient than Preply’s manual process, but also more accurate.

[Persona’s] platform knows more about passports than any individual on our team, so that raises the quality of the response in addition to the significant improvements with respect to the speed of the response.
Matthew O.
Product Manager at Preply

Before using Persona, each member of Preply’s Tutor Success team had to spend hours each day manually ensuring that each and every applicant met Preply’s criteria and was not misrepresenting their identity.

That process often involved cross-referencing applicants’ information against local passport requirements from more than 60 different countries. Sometimes, a single complicated case would pull 3 different tutor success managers away from their other work. But after using Persona’s Workflows, Preply was able to build out a customized, logic-based system to automate its verification based on its own internal criteria and business rules. Workflows enabled Preply to automatically filter out candidates who didn’t meet qualifications or who required further review, and even enabled Preply to auto-decline candidates that were clearly disqualified.

The biggest pain points that Persona was able to solve were the automation of the manual review piece and accuracy piece. Checking 4,000 IDs on a weekly basis manually leads to manual errors… Persona helps flag the cases [we] need to pay attention to and automates the rest.
Kardelen G.
Head of Tutor Success at Preply

For Preply, a company that’s focused on building trust in a community that is spread across the world, Persona’s ability to provide localized support and coverage across 190+ countries and cater to Preply’s user base in multiple languages was also critical to enabling the company to continue expanding across all its local markets without sacrificing the quality or security of their platform during this challenging time.

After leveraging the power of Persona’s Workflows and platform, Preply’s Tutor Success team no longer had to screen each and every applicant. Instead, they only had to review certain cases that had been intelligently flagged by Persona, decreasing the amount of time spent on reviews by 80%. Instead, the team was able to shift focus onto strategic projects such as expanding their tutor acquisition efforts. 

Making it easier to onboard tutors opened up doors for Preply’s entire business.

After implementing its Persona-powered streamlined verification process, Preply soon realized how impactful the update was across their entire business.

By automating the identity verification process, Preply was able spend time reconfiguring their acquisition funnel to improve the tutor onboarding experience. These improvements ultimately led to a 15% increase in tutor conversion.

Persona also helped Preply improve in ways that it had not expected at all. Using Persona’s system, Preply also:

  • Uncovered entire new categories of fraud using passive data signals available in Persona’s dashboard.
  • Developed a process to manage the reactivation of old tutors returning to Preply’s platform due to the pandemic.

By partnering with Persona, Preply can now serve more students in all parts of the world — even students whose education has been most disrupted by the pandemic. 

There never has been a more important time for global students to have access to the kind of high-quality, reliable online education that Preply offers.

Looking forward, Preply will continue to work with the team at Persona to improve its processes and discover even more innovative — and often unexpected — ways to grow its business and provide its global community with access to high quality educational tools.