Five Questions With: Elie Schoppik

CEO and co-founder of Prepmatic, talks to Providence Business News about his company, being a MassChallenge finalist and the Providence entrepreneur community. More

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Five Questions With: Elie Schoppik

COURTESY PREPMATIC
“We take guessing out of the study process by engaging students in active memory stimulation, leading to better reinforcement of knowledge and allowing us to much more accurately gauge how well a student knows material.”
Posted 6/6/12

Elie Schoppik is the CEO and co-founder of Prepmatic, a Web application designed to help students study for standardized tests.

Schoppik graduated from Rutgers University in 2010 with a BS in Finance and worked at Deloitte in their Securitization and Financial Instrument Valuation group until January 2012 when he moved from New York to Providence with Prepmatic co-founder Andrew Sohn to participate in the Betaspring startup accelerator.

Prepmatic was a member of Betaspring’s most recent graduating class and was just named a MassChallenge 2012 finalist.

PBN: How did you come up with the idea for Prepmatic?

SCHOPPIK: Over the years I studied for multiple exams including the GMAT, GRE, CAIA (Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst) and CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst), in addition to several languages.

The traditional study methods I used - flashcards, review books - were tedious and boring and took up a ton of time, and nothing online worked for me. I thought - what if you could take the best parts of classic study methods, bring them online, and make them faster and smarter?

I pitched the concept to my good friend Andrew Sohn, a web developer, and he was instantly on board.

We read every research paper we could find regarding studying and memory retention techniques and within a month had a rough prototype of Prepmatic.

PBN: What makes Prepmatic different than other standardized test prep out there?

SCHOPPIK: There was nothing out there that helped me easily study large amounts of exam material. Even with classes, tutors and review books, memorization remains a self-study.

Think of Prepmatic as your personal memory tutor. We take guessing out of the study process by engaging students in active memory stimulation, leading to better reinforcement of knowledge and allowing us to much more accurately gauge how well a student knows material.

Using the data we collect we give each student a completely customized study plan based on their progress and needs. The end result is a fun and effective study tool that really helps you learn.

We’re starting with SAT Vocabulary – a notoriously daunting set of study material – but we already have GRE, AP, and language products in the pipeline.

We also have some really engaging social learning features and games in the works.

PBN: Prepmatic was just chosen as a MassChallenge 2012 finalist. What do you think has led to your success?

SCHOPPIK: We have a great product, a great team - especially the educators who create our material - we completed a successful private beta with students from here in Providence and as far as India and Hong Kong, and we have an invaluable network of advisors and mentors from Betaspring and the local startup community.

PBN: How has your experience in the Betaspring start-up accelerator helped launch your business?

SCHOPPIK: Betapspring was an incredible experience. We came in with a working prototype and left with a market ready product. The Betaspring partners and mentors are some of the smartest people we’ve ever met, and being surrounded by so many awesome entrepreneurs, absorbing everything, being able to share ideas, successes and failures - it’s an exciting and enriching atmosphere and it just promotes rapid growth. The startup scene in Providence is really growing and we have a wealth of support right here in town, including an investment from the city’s Innovation Investment Program.

PBN: What’s your advice for other aspiring tech or education startups?

SCHOPPIK: Take criticism constructively and use it to keep improving.

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