New Kid on the Block: Rocket Club

It was easy for Alex Hodara to tap into his own childhood when he started the kids math tutoring and enrichment program Rocket Club — in fact that’s exactly why he did it. His own father had taught him to embrace math early on, by bringing him into his fantasy baseball league. (In fact he started one of the first leagues in 1981 at NYU, a time when you wrote down your picks and mailed them to one guy who managed the bids.)

“My dad was brilliant in that he was teaching me with things that I loved,” Alex says now. (He and his father are still in the same league.) “That’s how I learned to make spread sheets, calculate ERAs, batting averages, slugging percentages, and all the higher baseball analytics, even budgeting.”

He started his first business as a teenager in New Jersey in 2002, when he and some friends imported 100 sets of clay poker chips from China and sold them on He got his real estate broker’s license during his freshman year at Boston University so he could rent apartments to his friends; he sold his first building in his junior year and eventually built a portfolio of 50 buildings in Boston.

But he couldn’t shake the idea of Rocket Club, which is half math, half entrepreneurship — tutoring and enrichment with real world math applications. “I really wanted to build the club I wish I had as a kid.”

He started the club in 2019 with in-person programs in Hoboken, Montclair, the Upper West Side and Lower Manhattan. But he was forced to shut them down for covid and made Rocket Club free or seven months while they created a virtual program. They now have three locations in the city plus Chicago and Hoboken — Tribeca just opened last month at 23 Warren, along with a Third Avenue location on the Upper East Side.

To develop the program and create the best learning experience, Alex hired consultants from every part of the math industry: curriculum builders to build curriculum for each grade level using different teaching methods (Common Core, Singapore Math and Russian Math); tutors to coach his team members on how best to adjust the curriculum based on the different learning styles; and math teachers who showed them how they “gamified” their classrooms with tools like Blookets, Kahoots and Gimkits.

Enrollment starts with a free one-on-one math assessment and then the development of a custom curriculum tailored to each member’s goals and interests. Members earn “Rocket Fuel,” which can be cashed in for prizes, and “Certifications” that accumulate on their personal “resume.”

Kids come for a two-hour class once a week with a 3-to-1 ratio, working in small cubicles the team has built into the space. The first hour is what I am calling “math in context”: discussion and exercises on how math works in different industries. This week was aviation, and the example was Amelia Earhart’s flight over the Atlantic. Then there are stock market challenges every week, calculating the percent change and the market cap; math and logic games. “It’s a fun way to warm up our brains every week,” said Kristen Pszonak, the Tribeca site director. Each child also develops a T-shirt business, where they have to account for their revenues, expenses, profit and return on investment.

The second hour is when the kids work on their custom curriculums and goals, both of which are developed with parents. Most trajectories are for 24 months. Memberships are month-to-month and cost $650 per month (approximately $80/hour). The studio can accommodate 100 students max.

Alex first starting working with kids when he sponsored a hackathon at his hometown high school in 2018, and knew then this was his next business. “I saw kids using math to build applications and I saw I could use my real estate model to build this too,” he said. “But I’m much more proud of the product.”

Rocket Club Tribeca
23 Warren | Church & Broadway


1 Comment

  1. How do you join