Alumnus Shariq Shah Receives $100,000 to Fund AI Tutor Start-up
Shariq Shah, ’19 Computer Science, doesn’t waste time. His third start-up, Tutorly.ai, has only been operational since February, and he has already been selected to receive $100,000 from gener8tor, a Milwaukee-based start-up accelerator program.
Shah, who has been interested in technology from a young age, knew he wanted to come to San José State for the experience and the location. By the time he graduated, he’d already won two business competitions, including Best Pitch at the Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge and first place in the Silicon Valley Business Plan competition.
And in the few years since he’s graduated, he’s launched three different start-ups, including Ambii, a collaborative jukebox app that focused on in-store audio, and Launchvisory, which he describes as “an agency in which I work with other idea stage founders to essentially design, build, launch and market their product,” as well as Tutorly, “an AI homework assistant.” With Tutorly, he explains, “students get access to a 24/7 homework or coursework advisor that can help them at any time, anywhere in the world, with any subject.”
To accomplish this, the site uses Open AI’s language building capabilities and adds its own prompt engineering and knowledge from specific course materials to ensure factual and academic accuracy. The site currently has around 30,000 users and has answered around 500,000 questions, generating roughly $9,000 a month in revenue. Shah hopes to expand both its user base and its curricula.
He was delighted by his selection for the Gener8tor program. “Essentially, they invest $100,000 into your company and then they run you through a rigorous program that gets your company sorted and puts you in front of customers, mentors, and advisors, and fills any gaps that you as a founder have,” he says. “I’m a solo founder, so it’s very helpful to me.”
He adds that his time at San José State was transformative, specifically thanking the Ideas Lab, Anu Basu, professor of global innovation and leadership, and the Silicon Valley Center for Entrepreneurship for their influence.
“If it wasn’t for them, I would probably be writing code at a company,” he says. “I wouldn’t have been able to follow my aspiration to become an entrepreneur, and I wouldn’t have found this whole life of mine that I’m incredibly happy with. I’m incredibly grateful.”
He adds, “On a scale of one to ten of how San José State (and specifically the entrepreneurial environment) affected my life, it’s a nine or ten. It easily changed the course of my life.”