of Chicago Booth School of Business
For Ashish Rangnekar,
the process of trying to get into the Booth School shaped his entire
business school experience.
When he took the GMAT in July 2007,
he was working full-time and was frustrated by the lack of resources for
studying while on the go. In October 2008, he and Ujjwal Gupta, a
friend from college, decided to create a smartphone application that
would make studying for standardized exams easier. Nine months before
classes began, Rangnekar and Gupta started working on the first program
for their company Watermelon
Express. They wrote 250 sets of GMAT problems and solutions and
released the application in December 2008. It soon became the
best-selling test-prep app for the iPhone.
When classes started in
the fall of 2009, Rangnekar knew he wanted to continue working on
Watermelon Express. So he took classes, joined clubs, met professors and
alumni, and attended conferences sponsored by the Polsky Center for
Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital with one goal in mind:
entrepreneurship. "Professors have been great mentors," he says. "And
fellow students have provided invaluable critique and perspective."
May, Watermelon Express won the New Venture Challenge competition at
Booth, and over the past 18 months, more than 75,000 students from 20
countries have used at least one of the 66 educational apps the company
now offers, including test-prep for the GRE, LSAT, SAT, and MCAT. The
company, which currently employees 20 people (most on a freelance
basis), charges for all of its applications. In its first month,
Watermelon Express grossed $4,000 in revenue, according to Rangnekar.
working toward graduation in the spring, Rangnekar continues to work
on Watermelon Express. Over the next six months, the founders are
looking to strike content partnerships with educational publishers in
the U.S., Europe, and Asia. -- Sommer Saadi, posted Oct. 18, 2010
(Corrects spelling of Rangnekar's name.)