desi mideast asia latin africana
Page Title Graphic

« Previous 1 2 1 2 Next »

PrepMe Founders

Super Hero Entrepreneurs in Education

Karan Goel, 23, CEO & Co-Founder and Avichal Garg, 24, also a Co-Founder are putting a very important spin on preparatory education in the US. These bright young entrepreneurs have found innovative ways to bridge technology and SAT preparation (among others) all while making it fun and worthwhile through their company PrepMe.com. These Stanford and University of Chicago grads, already armed with their master degrees, are making their marks in preparatory education and business. You may recognize them as they have already been featured in FORTUNE Small Business for their innovative approach and has also recently been recognized as one of America’s Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25 by BusinessWeek Magazine. Karan and Avichal take some time with The DesiConnect magazine to share how they got started, words of wisdom and what’s in store for the future. Learn more by checking them in this week’s Young & Professional profile.




May 2001




Karan Goel, 23,
CEO & Co-founder

Avichal Garg, 24, Co-founder


KG: It’s complicated. Born in New Delhi, lived in Saudi Arabia, the U.K., the U.S. (most recently in Cincinnati and that’s how Avichal and I met)
AG: Born in Rajasthan, lived in Texas, Kentucky, and then Cincinnati, Ohio

Current residence

KG: Chicago, IL
AG: Mountain View, CA


KG: The University of Chicago: B.A. Economics (2004), MBA Finance and Entrepreneurship (2006);
AG: Stanford University: B.S. Computer Science (2005), M.S. Management Science (2005)

Work Experience

KG: Metcalf Fellow at The Pritzker Organization and Summer Consultant at The Boston Consulting Group;
AG: Product Manager at Google – worked on the algorithmic ranking part of the search engine and now on the core advertising engine



About the company

PrepMe is a premium test preparation company dedicated to bringing high-quality, personalized test preparation to students across the world at an affordable price. We accomplish this by using our adaptive learning technology which identifies a student’s strengths and weaknesses, then adapts to that student’s needs. We couple our online curriculum and technology by hiring top students at elite universities to be personal essay coaches for our students, to help guide them through the program, answer their questions, and grade their essays. We offer preparation programs for the ACT, PSAT, and the SAT.

Some of our newest features include the PrepMe Precocious Program for students in 6th-8th grade who are looking to take the SAT. Precocious students need a course designed for them. We analyze their strengths and weaknesses in order to tailor a custom course to fit their needs. PrepMe’s program will push them to improve in all areas.

We are also working with charter schools, which buy our customized programs for their students – this has been launched with our ACT Program.

What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

KG: Managing staff, business development, customer service, marketing, and making sales

AG: Strategic guidance, product vision and direction, technology/engineering management

Most notable milestones

KG: Being recognized for our innovative approach and success by being on the front cover of FORTUNE Small Business

AG: Building our core software platform, which adapts to each student’s strengths and weaknesses to create a customized learning experience

What’s the niche?

We have been where our clients want to be. We have been through what they went through and that means that we understand their needs and have broken the traditional mold of classroom-based test prep to deliver something truly unique and highly impactful to our students.

We do this by combining the power of adaptive learning technology with the personal touch of a private tutor, which each student receives. We are the only ones in the industry to offer this hybrid model.

Each PrepMe student gets a unique program and is given a high level of support from their tutor. We care about each individual student’s success and it shows in our results.

What’s in store for the future?

We’d have to kill you if we told you. Just kidding. You will see us roll out narration for our courses, our full ACT program, a new website with lots of additional free resources for students, and our branching into new technology platforms such as mobile devices. We will also be working to make our SAT/ACT prep programs more accessible to students who couldn’t afford them otherwise.

Who would you like to be contacted by?

We want to help families who care about their children’s education and future careers. We want to help these students and their families achieve their dreams.

We would like to be contacted by anyone who thinks we offer a valuable service and would like to help more families learn about us.

« Previous 1 2 1 2 Next »

Best way to keep a competitive edge

KG: Understand your customers and make their lives better
AG: Innovate

Guiding principle in life

KG: Dream big or go home
AG: Opportunity is a luxury

Yardstick of success

KG: Highly satisfied customers – we want billions of them
AG: Happy, successful customers

Goal yet to be achieved

KG: Sleep
AG: Sleep

Best practical advice

KG: Listen, think, and always be open to criticism. This is the only way to get better. If you start taking things personally, you will never change for the better.

AG: Try to put yourself in a position to have the maximum number of possible options at any point in time. If you have to pick, pick the best one, and try to move towards maximizing your options going forward from there.

Supportive words from a family member or friend on your venture

KG: “Don’t wait till tomorrow. Get it done today” (based on a saying in Hindi – my father
AG: “Hard work never goes to waste” – my mother


KG: Bob Nagel, former President of Peapod, and Michael Friedman, former President of Publishing at Barnes & Noble
AG: Marissa Mayer, Vice President of Search Products and User Experience at Google

Like best about what you do?

KG: Making a tremendous impact on the college admissions and future careers of thousands of students. Those “Thank You” emails make all the 4 A.M. nights worthwhile.

AG: The sense of ownership makes it really fun!

Like least about what you do?

KG: I don’t sleep well – PrepMe is always on my mind.
AG: The lack of sleep or vacation.

Most memorable business experience

KG: The first of many emails from a parent that said PrepMe helped her child get into a top university and win scholarship money, saving their family thousands of dollars

AG: Becoming profitable.

What motivates you for success?

KG: I love helping others attain their goals. It’s very satisfying.

AG: I believe good things will happen if I create value in the world, so I focus on contributing in unique ways wherever I can – with our technology, with our students, within our company. The rest tends to takes care of itself.

At age 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?

KG: A microbiologist.
AG: An astronaut.

Biggest pastimes outside of work

KG: going to the gym, bhangra
AG: running, basketball

Person most interested in meeting

KG: Chandrababa Naidu. He was instrumental in moving Andhra Pradesh forward and improving governance. India needs more politicians with his courage and vision who will help create jobs, reduce poverty, and increase innovation.

AG: Elie Wiesel. He endured blind hatred, survived the holocaust, and rather than become broken and bitter, he emerged committed to the principles of tolerance, forgiveness, and freedom.

Leader in business most interested in meeting

KG: Narayana Murthy because of his tremendous drive and ability to stick with something almost no one else believed in.

AG: Warren Buffett because of the disciplined way he approaches both his personal and professional life. (Karan already met Mr. Buffett – lucky guy!)

Three interesting facts about yourself

1. Lived and studied in 5 countries, never lived in one place over 5 years
2.Been invited to Miss Teen Ohio and numerous women’s business leadership organizations
3.I have been dancing and choreographing bhangra for 6 years

AG: 1. Till I was 16, I thought my name was made up.
2. I started programming when I was 10.
3. I can solve a rubik’s cube in under a minute.

Three characteristics that describe you

1. Energetic
2. Creative
3. Like bright colored clothing

1. Passionate
2. Driven
3. Quirky

Three greatest passions

1. Education
2. Innovation
3. India’s economic rise

1 .Education
2. Technology
3. Learning

Favorite book

KG: 50 Wittiest Tales of Birbal
AG: The Bhagavad Gita

Favorite cause


« Previous 1 2 1 2 Next »


Interview by Sheena Singh
Introduction by Sumaya Kazi
Edited by Sumaya Kazi

Also this week

John ChowJavier RoblesAhmed Ahmed

Don’t forget!

Rearview | Non-Profit Spotlight | News2Know

Toolbar Help
Press | Advertisers | Partners | Opportunities | Privacy Policy | Editorial Policy | Unsubscribe | Sitemap
The DesiConnect
The MidEastConnect
The AsiaConnect
The LatinConnect
The AfricanaConnect