Award Recognizes Studentâ€™s Company for Top Consumer Service
By Rabiah Ahmed and Adil James
Cambridge, MAâ€“Syed Adil Hussain, a Harvard graduate student, is a recipient of the world-renowned MIT $100K Executive Summary Competition (ESC) award in recognition for the high-quality online tutoring his company, uProdigy, begins delivering this week to American college students.
The MIT $100K ESC award is one of the worldâ€™s leading entrepreneur competitions and is designed to encourage students and researchers to act on their talent and ideas. It has produced hundreds of successful ventures since its establishment in 1990.
The winners of the ESC competition were announced Friday, February 8, at the Business Plan Competition kick off held at the Strata Center. Eight student-managed companies were selected from over 100 entries and were awarded cash prizes.
â€œI started this company because as an undergrad student, I could never afford the $60-$70 normally charged for help in higher-level math,â€ said Hussain, 26, CEO of uProdigy. â€œThe MIT award recognizes the important social impact uProdigy can make by delivering quality and affordable academic tutoring services to American college students.â€
Hussainâ€™s company, based in Massachusetts, was selected from a panel of judges from the MIT and Boston venture communities. Judges were asked to select business plans that showed high growth potential, market leadership potential, stage of idea development, and quality and breadth of team among other things.
As part of it services, uProdigy offers live, around-the-clock homework assistance from highly educated, English-speaking tutors in South Asia.
The niche for uProdigy is college students who need low-cost emergency one-on-one help with understanding concepts from very qualified people. Mr. Husain explained that â€œWe are just launching the business to the public–we just launched yesterday. We had an alpha release in November.â€
He explained that â€œIn India, there is so much talent, so many brilliant people. Most of the people we selected as tutors are professors at universities. There is really no shortage of them at all. We accepted only about 5% of those who applied to be tutors.â€
As for the future, Husain explains that â€œthis is really a huge huge market–what we are seeing now is only the beginning.â€ The biggest player in online tutoring now, he explains, is Tutorvista, which focuses on elementary school and middle school tutoring rather than the college students that uProdigy aims to serve.
Students will be able to use uProdigyâ€™s services for only $15 per hour–and the first hour is free. People who join uProdigy as members will also (in the future) have access to general academic instructional videos. Visit their website to learn more.
For more information on uProdigy, visit www.uProdigy.com.