Lessons from an entrepreneur in action
Published: August 14, 2013
Elad Shoushan, MBA ’14, talks about being an entrepreneur at MIT Sloan
Elad Shoushan, MBA ’14
Elad Shoushan, MBA ’14, is the founder and CEO of LTG Exam Prep Platform, a company that has developed a mobile learning platform for standardized tests. LTG is already selling its first product—Prep4GMAT—for the iPhone and iPad, so users can study for the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) virtually anywhere, anytime. LTG was a semi-finalist in the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition earlier this year, as well as a finalist at MassChallenge 2013. The burgeoning company has won a slew of other awards, and the app already has more than 1,000 users. Shoushan, a native of Israel who was also a professional basketball player there, recently discussed his business venture.
It’s been a year and a half since you founded LTG. What have you learned?
I’ve learned a lot—from how to handle the product development tasks and cycles to managing sales forecasts and pitching to investors. Many business lessons that I’ve learned at MIT Sloan (sales, marketing, financial forecasting, etc.) were quickly applied to my company. I was able to hone my skills by managing a company at the same time.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
The only thing I would have done differently is recruiting. I wish I had recruited more employees, or had another co-founder who could be fully dedicated to the company.
When did you come up with this concept for studying for the GMAT?
The idea came up during my preparation for the GMAT when I found that current available study materials didn’t really meet the difficulty level of the GMAT, and the study methodologies that GMAT companies use are far from being efficient, effective, and customized to each student’s learning style, which is crucial to success. And in an era in which mobile devices are an integral part of everyone’s lives, there was no GMAT application that provided a full course that was designed for mobile device users who wished to study anytime, anywhere without an Internet connection.
Mobile devices are designed for study on the go by integrating the learning process into the users’ daily routines. I predict that the world of test preparation, particularly standardized tests such as the GMAT, GRE, USMLE, etc., will eventually move to mobile devices.
Did you consult with any admissions employees at top business schools?
I did at some point, after the app was launched. After accepting the offer to come to MIT Sloan, I did speak with Rod Garcia [senior director, admissions] at MIT Sloan, who showed a great interest in the company’s idea.
Tell me about the Label Study Method that LTG is known for.
The learning platform is based on a patent pending technology called Smart Keywords in Standardized Testing that introduces a new technological breakthrough in the standardized test world. This is LTG’s technological advantage over other companies. LTG’s technology includes an advanced text-processing engine that features an algorithm that parses test questions to find all the concepts being tested. The smart engine identifies keywords within each question, and assigns those keywords to the relevant theoretical concepts. Every time new questions are added, the engine tags them automatically with the appropriate labels. Based on this unique technology, LTG developed the label study method, which helps the user focus faster on keywords inside questions, associating them with the concept learned and helping the user to apply the rules faster and more accurately. Mastering this process helps users become more efficient and effective.
Who else is working on this with you?
Our team is spread worldwide. Our CTO and an app designer are based in Israel, a team of experienced writers of GMAT questions is based in India, an MIT PhD who is our director of business development is in China, and our marketing manager is based in Cambridge.
How did you come up with the $29.99 price for the app?
The price of a GMAT Study book ranges from $10 to $50. The price of a course ranges from $350 - $1,500, and the price of a private tutor is $100 an hour. LTG’s goal is to provide an affordable solution that provides everything the user needs to know for the GMAT. With the help of MIT Sloan MBA students who did a comprehensive consulting project on pricing that included surveying thousands of GMAT test takers, we decided that LTG should compete in the price range of $50-$100, depending on how much content users wished to buy. As a starting point to promote the app and increase the number of users, the app is right now offered for $29.99.
What will you do after graduation and where do you think your business will be based?
My goal is to finish my MBA, and to lead a funded up-and-running startup that will accelerate fast. The headquarters will be based in the United States, but with an engineering team based in Israel.