Nobody understands the struggle of an engineering aspirant as well as Mirik Gogri, Nitesh Salvi and Vivek Gupta. Which is why the trio came up with a business model designed to help students prepare for entrance exams at a fraction of the cost charged by coaching institutes
In today’s rat race being on top is very important, especially for aspiring engineers. And nobody can understand the struggle and hard work that goes into securing a seat at a top college as well as Mirik Gogri, Nitesh Salvi and Vivek Gupta, fourth year IIT Mumbai students themselves. It was with this in mind that the trio launched Plancess Edu-solutions, an e-learning company that aims to take engineering entrance and boards exam preparations beyond coaching classes.
Talking about the business idea, Vivek Gupta, says, “IIT coaching classes have been becoming over priced. Due to which, the quality of coaching is being compromised upon in rural areas resulting in the people staying in urban areas to receive better quality of coaching/training.”
The idea was to develop affordable and innovative products for students preparing for their engineering entrance. “Since we have recently appeared for these exams ourselves, we can incorporate our personal experiences while developing the products. Although the idea was generated in 2009, we started working on it from February 2011 with an initial investment of `5 lakh,” explains Vivek.
Juggling academics and a full time business is no easy task. But for these buddies, it was no reason to compromise on studies. “Initially, to devote time to studies we only worked for four hours each day and made up for that by working for eight to 10 hours on weekends. On holidays and during vacations we worked for close to 12 to 14 hours. Apart from our time and efforts, our major investment in terms of funding came from Aarti Industries,”said Nitesh.
However, not everything was a smooth sailing. Turning the idea into reality and managing time was a challenge. Moreover, research and producing content itself took 18 months. “Although we started our company 1.5 years ago, we were testing the market. Product sale only began in January 2012. So far the response has been good and we are hoping to expand our business in the near future,” he said.
When asked about mission of the company, Mirik says, “Our mission is to support and enable every engineering aspirant to get through the most competitive entrance examinations of the country. We are not here to make money but are here to make engineers.”
The cost of traditional coaching for a two years is a whopping Rs.1.5 lakh. “We on the other hand, provide the complete study material at only 10 per cent of this cost for a mere Rs.15,000. The best part about this method is that one can view these lectures at one’s convenience. One can listen to the lectures again to revise the concept. We also provide mentors to help students plan their studies,” adds Mirik.
Talking about the e-learning industry, Vivek said, “In the past, the country has been slow in embracing e-learning but trends now point towards a surge in growth. Indian youth are technology-driven and find e-learning appealing. For young working professionals e-learning is convenient as they can pursue their degrees in their own space and time.
“Increasing internet penetration, low existing coverage and rising demands are expected to develop this market further in the future. This sector has attracted large investments and is slated to lead to strong growth opportunities for the education sector. The e-learning market in India was valued at Rs.18.41 trillion in 2010-11 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20 per cent, whereas computer based training (CBT) market size is around $150 million and is expected to grow to $750 million.”
The company has invested around Rs.70 lakh for the growth of business. On future plans, Nitesh says, “One of the new products that we are planning to bring is a tablet which will assist engineering aspirants by providing them complete solutions to problems. This will mean that the student is investing a mere Rs.20,000 for a phone, tablet and video lectures. The second product is a series of self-evaluation tests, wherein students will be able to test themselves to check if they are thoroughly prepared for any kind of engineering entrance exam. In these tests the students compete with themselves, which we believe brings out the true competitive spirit.”
Apart from the 50 IITians associated with different IITs. The company that has 10 permanent employees and are expected to add more employees. The company is expecting a breakeven by the end of the year and has already made revenues of Rs.10 lakh within a few months of the product launch.