How to Scale an Edtech Startup?
Students ask – Where should I study? Entrepreneurs ask – How to Scale an Edtech Startup to solve these problems at Scale. A solid education is a passport to a bright future. Millions of students across India (See image below) go thru numerous entrance or qualification exams. This is to get into the best and the brightest universities both in India and abroad. Being admitted into a prestigious institution in India or overseas is seen as the path to realizing one’s dreams.
Riding on these dreams are various needs (see image below) of students. These range from tuition fees to getting into the college, post college life, strength of alumni and the most important question – HOW TO GET IN?
This has spawned an entire industry of entrepreneurs and consultants. Top most on the entrepreneur’s mind is to build an edtech startup that would help millions of students. And a question that comes up often on an edtech entrepreneur’s mind is this – How to Scale an Edtech Startup?
Akshay Chaturvedi had the same question. In answering this question, he ended up going through several ups and downs. Read on to know more
Akshay Chaturvedi’s Story
How did Akshay Chaturvedi answer the question – How to scale an edtech startup? What specifically did he set out to do? What did he fail at in the beginning? Read on
Promising Beginnings of Scale
Akshay Chaturvedi’s entrepreneurial journey is a story of humility and persistence. An entrepreneur at heart, Akshay is excited about the impact a startup can have.
He begins a venture putting students and mentors together. A few thousand downloads and a few months later, he realizes that he needs something much bigger. Something that will bring in revenues and is monetizable.
The Interlude before real scale
He shuts down the venture and embarks on a journey. One of learning, working at Snapdeal and doing an MBA at ISB. In the process, he realizes that what he was personally doing – helping other potential students get into ISB could be the right angle to put on top of his erstwhile mentor network idea.
He dives in and begins LeverageEdu. LeverageEdu picks off well garnering a lot of users in a matter of months. So much so that, when it comes to funding, he is in a position to choose investment firms. Firms that match his value ethos to help him realize the larger goal of creating something big.
What failures did he encounter on his first journey? How did he meet all of his awesome advisors and how does he see the education landscape? All in our episode. Fascinating listening!
Here are some excerpts from the Episode
I love the concept of student mobility for my undergrad. I was seeing admissions marketing higher education thing out while I was kind of working for the school in at one year. And that’s where leverage edu was essentially formed. It was formed out of dorm room.
So I had this sense that, okay, let’s get to 5 million users first. And then we’ll make revenue, but that sense came crashing in 2015.
When everybody would ask, this was a kind of decline of the rise that we had seen for the last many years. And everybody would kind of ask that they were the Fs and where is the revenue.Akshay Chaturvedi 04:15
If I have to go back in time and kind of take a decision, I will make the same decision again, because I’ve realized over time, I’ve seen two cycles. Now the 14 to 16 cycle, if you want to call it a cycle and what’s happened.
What’s happening right now, and I’ve realize that the sexyness is fine, but more than sexy, it’s important that our business is fundamentally very, very strong and you are creating real value for the usersAkshay Chaturvedi 10:10
Talent Needs A Push!
If a student is for example, say you know, Vikas Khanna, the legendary chef, if we ask him when he was in class 12, well, no, no, you know what, you work a little bit harder.
Why don’t you do this data science degree and why don’t you do the stem degree, you would have lost a very big talent and that essentially the very crux of what our platform doesAkshay Chaturvedi 15:56
Today, we have 2000 plus mentors on the platform, by the way, so it’s have to kind of nickle it down. And I would say it was very important that A we had the right messaging. And B of course, we hustled a lot.Akshay Chaturvedi 18:36
Questions before scale
As a result, questions became – What do you want to build? You want to build a business, which does XYZ revenue and XYZ impact and you’re happy with it? Do you want to essentially build something which has impact that you cannot imagine today?
I think my idea of building a business was to always build a very, very large business. And when you’re looking to build a very large business you need capital to kind of fuel that growth.Akshay Chaturvedi 38:26
Everything that has to go wrong will go wrong hundred percent. For instance, every day you will have at least like 10 different fires that you need to kind of put off. And you will have the worst possible days lots of times.Akshay Chaturvedi 52:31
Follow Akshay Chaturvedi on
Akshay Chaturvedi – Founder & CEO – Leverage Edu | LinkedIn
Here’s what the word cloud for this episode looks like