Mtech TAP Graduate Lurn Inc. Wins Incubator Company of the Year Award
Mtech TAP incubator graduate Lurn Inc., a company dedicated to opening the doors to prosperity and entrepreneurship through online business education and the technologies that make it possible, was named company of the year in the technology service category during the 2009 Maryland Incubator Company of the Year Awards in a ceremony on June 16.
Lurn, formerly called Affiliate Classroom and a member of Mtech's Technology Advancement Program incubator from 2007 to 2009, was selected from among 19 finalists in seven categories.
Lurn CEO Anik Singal, who was named as one of BusinessWeek.com's 2008 Best U.S. Entrepreneurs 25 and Under, founded Lurn in 2004 after joining Mtech's Hinman CEOs program, the nation's first living-learning entrepreneurship initiative. Experimenting with Internet marketing in his spare time, Singal quickly realized there was a demand for organized and trustworthy training in best practices—the type of training that would help online marketers grow long-term, sustainable online businesses. To meet this need, he founded Affiliate Classroom with just $100 in seed money.
Since 2004, Affiliate Classroom has introduced a wide variety of innovative educational products to the pay-per-performance industry, setting the standard for the training of both work-at-home entrepreneurs and management professionals. Since opening its doors, more than 21,000 students have benefited from Affiliate Classroom's courses and training systems.
Affiliate Classroom is recognized as a leading publisher of educational tools for interactive marketers. The company's growing product suite includes e-learning courses, live seminars, a digital magazine, and online communities for affiliates, merchants and advertisers participating in the affiliate marketing industry.
In early 2009, Affiliate Classroom evolved into Lurn to expand its brand and market its unique e-learning training and monetization platform. Lurn's software will soon make it possible for information marketing entrepreneurs to create paid virtual training centers on any topic they choose, and to deliver this information seamlessly to anyone in the world.
Just after graduating in May 2005, Singal entered Mtech's Mtech's VentureAccelerator Program, which provides mentoring for faculty and students creating companies around university-originating technologies. In May, 2006, Singal took first place in the University of Maryland Business Plan Competition in the Young Alumni Category, winning $15,000.
In May, 2008, realizing that one of the greatest hurdles to success for young entrepreneurs is funding, Singal pledged $50,000 to the university to launch the Hinman CEOs Alumni Fund, which offers money to support current students in the program starting companies.
The Maryland Incubator Company of the Year awards, sponsored by TEDCO, RSM McGladrey, the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development and Saul Ewing LLP, publicly recognize achievements by current clients and graduates of Maryland incubators and provide a forum for the nominees to increase their visibility in the business, technology and investment communities. Application finalists and category award recipients are chosen by a cross-section of the region's most prominent industry leaders and early-stage investors.
Selection criteria for a winning company included: success in achieving its objectives, its technology or product development; growth in revenue or earnings; number of customers and significant customers; technology transfer; attraction of outside investors; and impact on the region. Award recipients were chosen based on their nomination form, onsite visits, and interviews with references.
June 18, 2009