The COVID-19 outbreak has brought unprecedented times and has changed the way businesses, education, and offices operate in the country. With the new normal characterised with digitisation, the edtech sector has especially seen a huge growth amid the pandemic.
According to a report by BARC India and Nielsen, the country has recorded a 30 percent rise in the time spent on education apps since the lockdown. Accelerated digitisation in the education space has opened up opportunities for startups to disrupt the edtech sector and bring in new innovations.
In this scenario, Faridabad-based GuruQ aims to provide an alternative coaching option to students, and claims to maintain the same level of classroom engagement in its online classes. It is also re-adjusting the teaching methods to suit students’ unique needs.
Founded in 2017 by brother and sister - Minal Anand and Jai Karan Anand, the startup allows tutors from across the country to provide tailor-made classes to students. Realising the growing opportunity in edtech, GuruQ launched its mobile app in February 2020.
Speaking to YourStory, Minal says, “The platform targets all students across varied age groups starting from pre-primary to higher secondary. It provides tutors for competitive exams as well such as NEET, JEET, CLAT, etc. It also has skill development courses such as foreign language and business communication courses targeted at professionals.”
Online mentoring platform
Minal completed her MBA from Boston University and has worked at companies such as Franklin Templeton, Citigroup, and HPL Additives. She believes the need of the hour is not providing more content but teachers should be able to assist students to comprehend the available content.
“After returning to India, I realised the difference between the way education is imparted in India and the way it is done in international quarters, and this prompted me to explore the edtech sector. Since education in India centers around rote learning, the majority of the students remain at a disadvantage when they have to compete with international peers,” she says.
“With GuruQ, we are trying to bring a fresh perspective on education and find innovative ways of teaching via certified and qualified tutors to give our students a winning edge,” she adds.
The co-founder and CEO explains that GuruQ is an aggregator of highly qualified tutors who are capable of coaching the students by focusing on their individual needs. Around 40,000 tutors are registered with GuruQ as of now. The startup provides an on-demand tutor feature which allows students to select tutors based on several parameters such as subject matter expertise, budget, tutor rating and feedback, and reviews among others. The students can also opt for another tutor in case they are not satisfied with their existing tutor.
“GuruQ is leveraging technology and has trained its teachers to use the tutor dashboard to teach and manage their students efficiently. Through the dashboard, they can manage their schedules, classes, and students as well as create and send notes, assignments, tests, and exams,” says Minal.
“We launched our mobile app in February 2020, and this has proved to be a game-changing addition to the platform. The app helps both students and teachers to schedule classes on-the-go and get push notifications to remind them about their upcoming classes,” she says.
While the GuruQ website was launched in 2018, the startup recently launched its app in February for easier access to the platform via mobile phones.
Apart from the app, GuruQ also provides offline centres where students can take tuitions in the traditional manner after selecting a tutor from the online pool. “With the public health scare overhang, there has been a paradigm shift towards online tutoring as it is the sole option to continue learning,” she adds.
Minal explains that prior to the pandemic, most of the students who joined GuruQ preferred to opt for the offline mode of coaching. But the COVID-19 outbreak has helped students adapt to the online mode.
“Once the COVID-19 vaccine is out, GuruQ will once again reopen its offline tutoring mode where students can select tutors in their vicinity and study offline at a mutually convenient place and time,” she adds.
Business and more
According to the founder, the coronavirus led lockdown proved to be a “blessing in disguise” for the platform, which claims to have recorded 70 to 80 percent increase in demand for online tuitions during the period.
Minal adds that GuruQ saw more than 900 students enrolling for foreign language programmes such as French, Spanish, German, Chinese, Italian, and Russian over the last few months.
The brother-sister duo launched GuruQ with an initial investment of Rs 10 crore. Later, in 2018, the startup raised its first funding round of Rs 2.5 crores from a group of HNIs, and is now in talks with a few investors about the next round.
Speaking about the business model, Minal says the startup operates on a flexible pricing strategy starting from Rs 50 per hour, depending on the tutor, subjects and other factors. The rates were initially kept at Rs 200 per hour, but have been reduced to a starting rate of Rs 50 in order to reach students across regions.
She added that in July 2020, GuruQ penetrated the south Indian markets and onboarded tutors from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Following this, the startup claims to have recorded a rise in the number of requests for expert tutors in IIT-JEE preparation from these two states.
While she added that the mode of instruction is mostly English, Minal believes that eventually bringing local language speaking tutors will help students feel more comfortable and connect with the mentors.
According to the co-founder, GuruQ faces stiff competition from other notable edtech players such as Vedantu and CueMath.
“GuruQ envisions to have more than 15,000 students who would use the platform every single day. It aims to expand not just in India but even go international so that students and tutors all across the world can benefit from this platform,” says Minal.
“The tech team at Guru is also working on incorporating AI on the platform to automate a few processes and provide a hassle-free experience to students and teachers. There are other plans of incorporating new business lines and other functionalities to address the increasing and future demands of online tutoring space,” she adds.
Edited by Megha Reddy
Want to make your startup journey smooth? YS Education brings a comprehensive Funding Course, where you also get a chance to pitch your business plan to top investors. Click here to know more.