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"Lessons Learned From a Bootstrapped Entrepreneur"

A Whiting-Turner Lecture: October 6, 2011

Ramit Varma

Ramit Varma '96, co-founder of Revolution Prep, kicked off the Whiting-Turner Lecture Series on October 6.

Date: October 6
Time: 5 p.m.
Location: 1110 Kim Building

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Biography

Ramit Varma is co-CEO and co-founder of Revolution Prep, one of the leading educational services and technology companies in America. Mr. Varma and his business partner, Jake Neuberg, founded Revolution Prep in 2002 after meeting at UCLA's Anderson School of Business. The two realized they had a passion for helping students meet the academic rigors of high school and college and believed that test prep could be more accessible and effective.
 
The company started by holding SAT preparation classes at schools in Santa Monica, Calif., and soon grew throughout Southern California and in nearby states. The company expanded into private, online and in-person tutoring, exit exam preparation, and instructional technologies in the areas of mathematics and English-language arts, all under Mr. Varma's guidance. In 2010, Revolution Prep helped more than 75,000 students prepare in some way for the SAT and ACT, and hundreds of thousands of students used Revolution K12 software. As a result of these efforts, Revolution Prep was recognized by Inc. magazine as one of the fastest growing companies in America in both 2010 and 2011.
 
In addition to product development, Mr. Varma led Revolution Prep through its first acquisition (Ivy Insiders) and first outside investment (Kennet Partners).
 
Mr. Varma holds an M.B.A. from the Anderson School of Business at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a B.S. in electrical engineering from the Clark School. He is a member of the Bel Air Chapter of the Young Presidents' Organization and along with Mr. Neuberg, Mr. Varma was an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist in 2009.

Abstract

Bootstrapping a company is probably the riskiest way to go about starting a business – but ultimately the most rewarding.  Managing and building a business as it moves from a cash flow focus to an equity generation focus is a long path and one with many potential missteps along the way. In this lecture, Revolution Prep co-founder Ramit Varma will provide his insights on what works – and just as importantly what doesn’t work – when building a business in this fashion.