Hertz Foundation Entrepreneurship Award Supports Math Tutoring Company

April 26, 2024
Sarah Williams

Hertz Fellow Ofer Grossman says the Harold Newman and David Galas Entrepreneurial Initiative is helping his company provide resources, training, mentorship, and community support to competitive, high-level math students in the same way that the Hertz Foundation has helped him. 

Grossman, who recently received his PhD in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has long been passionate about tutoring younger students in math. Now, with support from the Initiative, Grossman will be able to expand his company — Advanced Math Tutoring — that matches high-level Math Olympiad students with qualified tutors.  

Since 2012, the Harold Newman and David Galas Entrepreneurial Initiative has provided financial and professional support to Hertz Fellows who propose innovative entrepreneurial projects. The awards not only come with up to $25,000 in funding, but also provide mentoring and feedback from successful entrepreneurs within the fellows’ community. 

“I’m really excited to have Hertz support to help Advanced Math Tutoring grow,” says Grossman. “My company is focused on maintaining a very high level of intellectual rigor, as well as on offering mentorship and access to resources to younger students. So in many ways it parallels the goals of the Hertz Foundation itself.” 

In high school, Grossman participated in prestigious math competitions around the world, including the International Mathematical Olympiad, where he earned a bronze medal in 2013. Once he graduated and began college at MIT, his own competition days were over but he saw the opportunity to stay involved in the competition world — as a tutor. 

Ofer Grossman

“My company is focused on maintaining a very high level of intellectual rigor, as well as on offering mentorship and access to resources to younger students.”

Ofer Grossman Arrow Right
2017 Hertz Fellow

Founder, Advanced Math Tutoring

“I really enjoy teaching and I found that there weren’t many opportunities to do really good, creative teaching with students who are invested in the material,” he says. 

Over time, he not only connected with other advanced math students who enjoyed tutoring but began to have more requests for work than he could handle. It was hard for advanced math students to find tutors that could handle the high-level math coaching they needed, it turned out.  Grossman and a collection of his colleagues saw an opportunity and the company — originally called Contest Math Tutoring — was founded in 2016.  In addition to Grossman, the founders included Mark Sellke, currently a statistics professor at Harvard, and Yang Liu, slated to soon join the computer science faculty at Carnegie Mellon. 

Since his Hertz Fellowship freed him from some of the usual time-consuming tasks that accompany graduate school — such as seeking funding or working as a TA to make extra money — Grossman was able to spend his free time working on starting up the company and adding new tutors. 

Among the other tutors now helping him run the company and manage its growth: Tomer Grossman, a graduate student in computer science at the Weizmann institute, and Allen Liu, a Hertz Fellow and computer science graduate student at MIT. Liu placed first in the International Mathematical Olympiad in 2016 and has known Grossman since high school. 

“In school, math is often taught as a very mechanical subject, and what’s great about math contests — and tutoring for math contests — is that it lets students explore the creative, problem-solving side of the field,” says Liu. 

In 2023, the 22 tutors currently working with Advanced Math Tutoring provided more than 1,000 hours of tutoring — a boon to both students and the tutors themselves, who are mostly graduate students and appreciate the extra income. But Grossman, Liu and their colleagues think there is still lots of room for growth through marketing and advertising efforts as well as expansion of the fields they cover. That’s where the the Harold Newman and David Galas Entrepreneurial Initiative will come in, they say. 

“When I was a student, one of the most difficult things was trying to figure out where there were resources to help me,” says Liu. “We want to change that through mentorship.”

The mentorship provided to Grossman, Liu and their colleagues from others in the Hertz community — all on a volunteer basis — will, they hope, let them expand the ways in which they offer tutoring, guidance and mentorship to others.