Hailing from the small village of Dankaur in Uttar Pradesh, Anil Nagar’s parents could not get any education themselves. Wanting a different future for their son, they encouraged him to go for IIT-JEE coaching. After successfully cracking the exam, Anil went to IIT-BHU to study electronics engineering. Eventually, he went to the US to work with Cognizant.
But things soon changed in 2010 when he founded Bank Power in Gurugram, Haryana. Having closely seen how the common man struggles with education and employment, Anil says it was an emotional yet an intuitive decision - to help people as much as he could.
Starting up with his friend and Co-founder Saurabh Bansal, Bank Power’s agenda was to help young job aspirants get through bank examinations.
Anil says, “We wanted to do something in education. The itch was too strong. CAT and IIT-JEE preparation scene was ‘done to death’; there were too many players, so we thought of something else.”
Among the company’s first batch, 25 out of 29 made through the bank exams, and word of mouth spread. While the duo figured out a clear opportunity, they did not really know how to go ahead as entrepreneurship was new for them. In the beginning, Anil and Saurabh were themselves teaching the classes. By 2016, they had built a large network of 500 teachers for offline classes.
That was when the founders realised that they needed a neutral name to cater to all kinds of competitive examinations, and not just banks. Hence, Bank Power was rebranded to Career Power.
The path to growth
In 2016, the startup realised that online education was becoming more convenient. Soon after, it raised a funding of $3 million from Sterlite Technologies, which helped the founders launch edtech platform Adda247. However, Career Power continues to be the company’s offline wing in Gurugram.
Adda247 is an online test preparation platform that offers videos, live lectures, ebooks, and online study material for candidates aspiring to crack examinations like SSC, Banking, Insurance, Teaching, Railways, Defence and State-level competitive entrance exams.
Anil says that online education has an entirely different DNA from offline. He adds, “We now have most number of paid users, after BYJU’s, and they are all organic - without having to spend anything on marketing.”
Adda247 provides video courses, mock test series, physical books, and ebooks. The platform has witnessed a revenue of almost Rs 51 crore in the last fiscal.
The cost for a live course ranges from Rs 4,000 to Rs 12,000 while an on-demand video course can cost anything between Rs 2,000 and Rs 10,000, and mock tests can cost between Rs 200 and Rs 3,000.
“The future is completely online. Education is the only industry where the product can be consumed completely online without actually needing an offline wing,” Anil adds.
A potential IPO in the horizon
In 2016, Adda247 started a YouTube channel to amplify its reach and claims to have documented a 90 percent growth in student subscriptions since then. The startup says that it witnessed amplified growth in revenue and user engagement too last year.
Having recorded a monthly traffic of almost 15 billion in FY 2018-19, it now aims to cross the 20 billion mark this fiscal. Its app downloads are projected to increase to 10 million by the end of 2020.
Adda247 is now present in 75 locations across India. Thanks to the internet boom in the country making getting online easier and affordable played a crucial role in the company’s growth. With more people gaining access to the internet, the startup’s online market has now grown bigger than its offline wing.
With existing unicorns like BYJU’s and Udaan, the edtech space in India is hot and is poised to become a $2 billion market by 2021. The founders claim that the edtech startup has had over 40 million online users since inception.
“In the next couple of years, we want to add more courses and enter other competitive exam verticals like the UPSC, CAT, GRE, GMAT, BBA, and CLAT,” says Anil.
At present, Adda247 has 400,000 paid users and aims to have 5,000,000 paid users in the coming 5 years.
With the conviction Anil has in his product and market potential, in the next four to five years, the app-driven edtech business wants to launch an Initial Public Offering (IPO).