About Us

Our Story

In elementary and middle school, I was a competitive chess player (more about me below). When I was 12, a family friend approached me about teaching her young son the basics of the game. After several months of teaching, I wanted to expand my number of students so I put up fliers in the local ice cream store and restaurants. Soon I was teaching 8 beginner chess students. While I wasn’t a “Grandmaster,” my chess skills more than qualified me to teach young children learning the game.

I repeatedly heard from parents of my students how much their children enjoyed playing chess with me and learning the game. Parents also valued the individualized attention and the fact that my hourly rate was less than a quarter of the rate charged by older professional chess teachers. Over time, several parents of my chess students asked me to also provide homework help to their children, and soon I was teaching six days a week.

As high school progressed, I had less time to provide so many one-on-one lessons. I also noticed that many of my friends had incredible skills as musicians, athletes and students. As I started learning more about technology and became interested in “sharing economy” platforms like AirBnB, TaskRabbit and others, I began to wonder if a similar model could be applied here: enabling high school mentors to share their knowledge by teaching younger children across a wide variety of skills. The idea for MentorBuddies was born.

- Eli Richmond

Want to learn more? Contact us at info@mentorbuddies.com


Eli Richmond (headshot) Eli Richmond
Founder/CEO, MentorBuddies, LLC

Eli Richmond is the founder of MentorBuddies, LLC. Eli is a senior at Newton North High School in Newton, MA. He was inspired to start MentorBuddies based on his own experiences teaching chess and providing homework help to numerous young children. Eli founded MentorBuddies on the strong belief that children with specific interests, passions, or needs should have affordable, flexible access to individualized assistance. Aside from MentorBuddies, Eli is passionate about engineering, technology, and financial literacy. In his spare time, he can also be found playing basketball, jamming on one of his guitars or binge-watching “The Office” on Netflix.

Eli can be contacted at eli@mentorbuddies.com.

Board of Advisors

Will Richmond (Headshot) Will Richmond
Editor and Publisher, VideoNuze

Will Richmond has worked at the intersection of media and technology for over 25 years in a variety of executive and entrepreneurial roles. He is the editor and publisher of VideoNuze, a widely followed online publication which provides daily original analysis and curated news for industry decision-makers. He also produces numerous industry-leading conferences and consults on strategic and product-related issues. Will is also a Lecturer in Boston University’s College of Communication where he teaches graduate classes in media evolution and entrepreneurship. He is the board chair of the Emerging Media and Technology Committee for WGBH, the largest content producer for PBS. Will has a BS from Cornell University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Will can be contacted at will@mentorbuddies.com.

Dr DeForest McDuff Dr. DeForest McDuff
Co-Founder and Partner, Insight Economics and Academic Integrity Seminar

Dr. DeForest McDuff is an economist, consultant, and entrepreneur with more than ten years of experience in business, consulting, and finance. He has co-founded several businesses and is a partner at Insight Economics (InsightEconomics.com) and Academic Integrity Seminar (IntegritySeminar.org). DeForest holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Economics from Princeton University, and a B.A. in Economics and B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Maryland. He lives with his wife and four children in Newton, Massachusetts.  Eli has mentored two of Dr. McDuff’s sons in chess for the past several years.

Dr. McDuff provides MentorBuddies with strategic, product and marketing advice.

Dr Robert J Larner Dr. Robert J. Larner
Senior Consultant, Charles River Associates

Dr. Robert J. Larner is a senior consultant to Charles River Associates in the Antitrust & Competition and Regulation Practices. He specializes in industrial organization, the economics of antitrust and government regulation, and price theory. Dr. Larner has assisted litigation counsel in a large number of antitrust and regulatory matters involving a wide range of issues—monopolization, mergers and acquisitions, price fixing, horizontal and vertical restraints, price discrimination, damages assessment, and intellectual property issues. Dr. Larner has taught economics at Brandeis University, Harvard University and Boston College. Dr. Larner earned his PhD and MA. in Economics from University of Wisconsin and his BA in Economics from Georgetown University.

Dr. Larner provides MentorBuddies with strategic, pricing and market positioning advice.


Ethan Curtis Robert Kane
Business Teacher, Newton North High School

Robert Kane teaches business at Newton North High School. He holds a B.S. in Business Management from the University of Scranton, a Master’s in Exercise, Leisure, and Sport from Kent State University, and a Post Baccalaureate in Business Education from Kent State University. He teaches many classes at Newton North which include Accounting, Entrepreneurship, and Money Matters.

Mr. Kane provides MentorBuddies with market positioning and mentor recruitment advice.

Sarah Richmond Sarah Richmond
Partner, Gesmer Updegrove, LLP

Sarah Richmond is a partner at Gesmer Updegrove, LLP, New England’s premier law firm for technology companies and emerging businesses. Sarah specializes in general corporate and intellectual property legal services for high-tech companies and their investors. She advises buyers and sellers in mergers and acquisitions negotiations, and she also represents start-ups and investors in venture capital and “angel’ financings. Before joining Gesmer Updegrove, Sarah was associated with Hale and Dorr (now WilmerHale) where she specialized in corporate transactions. She also practiced law with Tomotsune, Kimura & Mitomi, a Japanese international law firm in Tokyo. Sarah has a BA in Mathematics, magna cum laude, from Columbia University and a JD, cum laude, from Harvard Law School.

Sarah provides MentorBuddies with legal, strategic and product development advice.


Ethan Curtis Ethan Curtis, CPA
Income Tax Accountant, Ropes & Gray, LLC

Ethan Curtis is an Income Tax Accountant at Ropes & Gray, LLC, the 19th largest law firm by revenue in the world. Ethan prepares and reviews tax returns for large and medium-sized corporations, partnerships, estates and high net worth individuals. He also consults with clients on income tax planning and dispute resolution. Ethan has an MS in Taxation, with Distinction, from Bentley University and a BS in Accounting, cum laude, from Southern Connecticut State University. 

Ethan provides MentorBuddies with financial, budgeting and marketing advice.