Education has become a costly affair with the rise in the demographics of children and young adults in the Indian educational system. The Indian education sector has seen high growth in the past two decades with parents looking to admit their children into English medium schools. The rise in private schools training young children in the foreign language, along with teaching them moral education and modern etiquettes, appealed to the rising Indian middle class. This also led to the number of students passing 12th every year. In the subsequent days, new private graduation and post graduation institutes and universities have been established following norms laid down by Government regulated norms and principles.
Such an increase in the number of students to an average of 45-50 students in a batch has resulted in a lack of attention to individual students. In this edition of Startup Sunday, we the Entrepreneurship Cell got an opportunity to talk to the CEO/Founder of one such startup which is working towards making quality education accessible & affordable to every child from the best teachers across India.
Mr. Tarun Saini, the founder and CEO of Vidyakul started it in 2017 with the aim to increase the literacy rate in the nation also believing that every child has a genius within him/her & proper guidance and an educational setup can do wonders.
What follows, is the conversation we had with him.
Q) What is Vidyakul all about?
A) Vidyakul is an online learning platform that empowers educators to create courses on various subjects and provide Students with quality content at affordable prices. We have covered NCERT books from Class 6th to 12th, as well as last 10-year exam papers of competitive exams to prepare video lessons, study notes, online tests, and sample papers.
Q) How did Vidyakul start? What was the eureka moment?
A) In May 2017, KPMG and Google Tech report helped me understand the Indian Ed-Tech system. After 3 months of research, I decided to come back to India to start Vidyakul. The concept of Vidyakul came from my childhood experience where it was very difficult to get a quality education.
Q) What exactly is the business model of Vidyakul? What are the sources of your revenue?
A) Our main source of revenue is from Commission we get from the content creators (teachers) per transaction.
Q) What are the challenges that you faced while launching Vidyakul?
A) The main challenge that I faced was in building the right team. Also how to have a clear focus on one thing at a time, when you have some many things to do in a day was a big challenge.
Q) Please share something about your experience in disrupting the Australian Education Space.
A) Talking about the Australian education system, it is pretty well structured and there are many government initiatives which motivate and help students to gain a quality education. We worked with the Australian government to help special kids to gain education from home. We helped more than 20,000 students in the past 2 years.
Q) The industry in which Vidyakul operates is similar to Byju’s, Unacademy etc. How do you differentiate and compete with them? What other competitive forces do you face?
A) When we talk about our competitors, they spend a lot of money on content creation, but we are India’s first discovery platform for content directly generated by teachers. We work to solve the key challenges faced by students adopting online education. Our target market lies in the growing Tier 2 & Tier 3 – Low and Mid Income bracket students in India and provide a variety of quality content in vernacular languages at an affordable price.
Q) What are your plans for expansion and scaling up?
A) We started with providing online content for classes ranging from 6th to 12th and have now moved towards competitive exams as well as providing content for job preparation. We also try to give various tips on how to study and time management on our blog. In the future, we are looking forward to adding new courses, categories and bring more and more teachers on board.
Q) Did you find any difficulties while funding your start-up? If yes, then how did you overcome it?
A) So far we haven’t focussed on funding, we are running our venture in profit. But according to me before you look for funding, we should work on creating the MVP and have some traction. Getting funding on an idea is quite difficult nowadays. Investor clearly wants to see initial traction, and only after that, he would be willing to invest in a startup.
Q) Is there any point in your life when u wished to give up? How did you overcome this challenge?
A) To be honest, there is a stage in every Entrepreneur’s life when they feel like giving up but it’s all about your passion and determination about your dream that keeps you going. I had a few moments when I felt this way but my reading habits and my friends and family supported me a lot during such phases. Some of the must-read books which I would recommend for the budding entrepreneurs are Think and grow rich, Elon Musk, The Magic of thinking big. These have helped me keep myself motivated whenever I felt low.
Q) In this ever-changing global scenario, starting up a new business and launching an innovative startup is a huge challenge. Share your key learnings for the benefit of budding entrepreneurs as a person who has been there done that..!
A) The global scenario is always not the biggest challenge to starting up a new business. It’s all about your choice, who you want to be, what you want to do and the extent to which you believe in your dream matters the most. Your dream always will align with the future twists and turns. But starting itself will make matter work. Otherwise, it would just remain to be an idea.
Vidyakul is on a mission to create a conducive environment for the budding geniuses to bloom, give the teachers who have made valuable contributions on their personal accord and a PAN India platform to showcase and share their learning. Alongside, providing the students with a variety of resources, multiple choices for teachers, and support that many lack. Education is not scarcity, why should educational resources be?