Answer Underground

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Answer Underground
Industry Mobile, Social, elearning, online tutoring
Founded San Francisco, California, United States (2012 (2012))
Founder Sallie Severns
Headquarters San Francisco, California, U.S.
Area served
Key people
  • Answer Underground

Answer Underground is a social education company based in San Francisco, California. It was set up to develop and release an educational iOS app designed to help teachers and students find information via group Q&A. The application can be used independently or integrated with learning management systems.


Answer Underground was founded in 2012[1] by Sallie Severns, a former executive at information company[2] where she manages the education vertical. Severns came up with the idea for a mobile collaborative elearning app after observing her son struggle to get homework help online.

Severns created the first prototype of the Answer Underground app in 2011 and it was released to open beta in May 2012.[3]


Answer Underground is a freely downloadable application intended for use on smartphones and tablets. The current version run on iOS and are optimized for Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices. The app is not connected to the regular Web, it just has a mobile presence, but uses Facebook for authentication. This adds transparency because members can see who is posting or answering questions.[2]

The app works by allowing members to create and participate in academic groups related to a variety of study areas. Groups are categorized by major subject areas, such as math, history or the sciences, and are fully searchable. Members of an academic group can post questions, which are then answered by other members. Because these members may be either students or educators the app has a feature which allows verified academics to certify that the answers are correct.[3] It is also possible to search existing answers to see if the question has already been resolved.

Answer Underground have recruited a number of academics and doctoral candidates to moderate subject areas.[2] As subject matter experts the moderators can also answer questions. Severns claims that the response from academics has been positive, as it allows them to see where students are having difficulties and tailor their teaching to suit. Educators can also create a page which stores the answers they have given, which then becomes a resource for answering future questions.

Answer Underground plan to releases the app for the Android operating system.[4]