September 27, 2013

‘Magoosh’ Takes the Headache out of Test-Preparation

magooshThe road to success in education is often a bumpy one, paved with potholes aplenty – and among these metaphorical potholes are the dreaded GRE, GMAT, and SAT.  Headquartered in downtown Berkeley, California, an online startup called Magoosh was founded in 2009 with the goal of making online test-preparation more accessible, convenient, and effective for those looking to drive right over those potholes.

 

The company was founded by CEO Bhavin Parikh and Hansoo Lee, 2 former college boys at Berkeley’s MBA program, Haas.  They recognized the need for an online tool capable of making it easier (and cheaper) to earn a good score on these daunting, standardized exams.  Interestingly, the fun-to-say “Magoosh,” is actually their own personal rendering of the Persian word “magush” which means “one who is learned, wise, and generous” – a fitting moniker for a company in the business of providing educational tools.

 

Awards & Recognition

However, Magoosh’s academically-minded group of entrepreneurs have more tricks up their sleeve than simply a snazzy company name.  Their product has received some apparently well-deserved acclaim and recognition, and they’ve reportedly received several awards for their efforts.

 

Magoosh was 1 of 2 winners of North Bridge Venture Partners’ seed capital competition, in which the up-and-coming company (along with co-winner Profitability) was awarded $50,000 in seed funding, and an additional $25,000 of “in-kind development support” from Technology Propulsion Labs and Aeturnum Software Development and Services.  As part of the deal, they also earned up to 6 months of free office space.

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Magoosh’s Products Sold Separately

In addition to the online tools they’ve designed to help students prepare for the GRE, GMAT, and SAT, the company also offers a course in English grammar, too.  Each product can be purchased separately – a truly awesome feature, as I’m sure most students are a bit strapped-for-cash, and as opposed to the astronomical hourly rate of tutors, or the similarly high cost of prep-classes, the price of Magoosh makes it quite a “steal.”

 

Video-Based Lessons

Magoosh’s online products are very much video-based, and should therefore work well for those who consider themselves to be visual-learners, and each practice question comes equipped with its own video-explanation.  Another cool feature of Magoosh is that they make online tutors available to their customers to help with anything they’re struggling with, and they also boast a rapid turn-around rate for all support-request emails.  Their products come with quite a few practice questions – more than 800 for the GRE, more than 700 for the GMAT, and more than 400 for the SAT.

 

An International Affair

Magoosh is not only used here in the U.S., but is also enjoyed internationally – and the company’s website boasts over 50,000 users from 150 countries.  They’re also looking for new additions to their team of “Magooshers,” as advertised on the “Jobs” tab of their website.  They proudly purport themselves to be a team of foosball-loving, root beer float-drinking, word game-playing intellectuals, and their process of work is similar to that of many Silicon Valley startups: show up between 9 & 11:30, have a brief standup meeting, and get down to the business at hand.

 

The estimated total dollar-value of the test-preparation industry varies depending on source, but it appears to somewhere in the range of billions of dollars a year, and Magoosh hopes to play an important role in the game.  If you’re hoping to score well on your exams, maybe Magoosh can help you work a little magic – after all, not only is their company name derived from the Persian word “magush” – the English word “magic” is too!  Magoosh’s products and services can be accessed at magoosh.com, and mobile apps are available for both iPhone and Android.

 

    A startup is a company designed to grow fast. Being newly founded does not in itself make a company a startup. Nor is it necessary for a startup to work on technology, or take venture funding, or have some sort of "exit". The only essential thing is growth. Everything else we associate with startups follows from growth. Paul Graham, Y-Combinator