Zaniac, born in Park City, gains national steam

By Bubba Brown,

"It was about five years ago that Paul Pilzer plucked 16-year-old University of Utah graduate Sid Oberoi and commissioned him to help write an expansive math curriculum for elementary-age students.

"He said, 'What are we going to do with it?'" Pilzer said. "I was like, 'I don't know, but I know one family that needs it: mine.'"

Two years later, Pilzer and Oberoi opened their first Zaniac education center, in Park City, designed to provide math instruction for students on both sides of the bell curve: those who were struggling and gifted students who weren't being challenged enough in the classroom. The method is simple: Use an assessment to find out which concepts are tripping up a student. Then customize a curriculum to teach them those concepts.

"If you show me a kid who got a 780 on the SAT in math, I'll show you the concept he missed in sixth grade and no one ever measured for it," Pilzer said.

And now, after witnessing the success of the company -- and the incorporation of other programs such as robotics and computer programming -- Pilzer believes Zaniac is on the verge of blossoming into a phenomenon. Zaniac was built with franchising in mind and is set to boast 10 locations by the end of the year. Pilzer, who learned about rapid expansion from his involvement in the gym chain Planet Fitness, is hoping for 20 more next year. Then, he'll shoot for triple digits."

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