About Us

Our Story

During 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 currently a freshman at Northwestern University studying engineering, and was formerly a student 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.