In 2014, Priyank Shrivastava and Rajan Sharma met at Startup Oasis, then the only incubation centre of Jaipur. That’s where they also connected with Tapesh Bhargava, a technological expert. Two years down the line, after umpteen networking events, the trio decided to enter the entrepreneurial arena together with Standyou. The Jaipur-based edtech startup claims to be India’s first information-based, data-driven online platform and marketplace for coaching institutes across the country.
Standyou, which operates under Standyou Data Info Labs Private Limited, lets students look for the right coaching centres for competitive examinations like IIT JEE, NEET, CAT, GATE, CLAT, NDA, IRDA, banking and civil services. It also offers coaching options for Staff Selection Commission (SSC) examinations.
How did the Standyou journey start?
Priyank studied BBA LLB from National Law University, Odisha, and Rajan is an M.Com in Business Administration. They were running their startups in Jaipur, working on heavy construction equipment and road construction equipment, respectively.
“There were plenty of delays in payments from contractors as funds had to come from the government. In 2016, we had to shut down both our companies because of this,” Priyank recalls.
Both were keen to explore a space where payments were on time so that their startup had a better chance of “survival”. Priyank had been researching the education industry, which was estimated at $97.8 billion in 2016, according to an IBEF report.
He identified that there was not a single marketplace for students to apply to quality coaching institutes, to crack highly competitive examinations including JEE (IIT and engineering entrance) and NEET (medical entrance).
Tapesh Bhargava, now CTO at Standyou, was then proactively researching and learning booming technological trends like cloud management and machine learning. They got together, and with technological assistance from Tapesh, Priyank bootstrapped Standyou with an initial investment of Rs 20,000. Priyank now manages business development and operations; Rajan manages data and marketing.
How does Standyou stand out?
The high demand for quality coaching for top entrance examinations means fees are always high. Paying more than Rs 1 lakh to enroll into these coaching classes makes things unpredictable for students and parents alike.
Standyou’s marketplace model aims to make quality coaching affordable for students. Students can purchase classroom coaching and distance learning programmes to get an assured Standyou discount in fees (ranging between six and 10 percent). The edtech startup also works on providing additional scholarship discounts, based on a student’s past academic records, from coaching institutes. It offers online payment solutions so students/parents can pay fees in easy monthly instalments.
“There is no other consolidated marketplace where candidates can search, compare, and apply. It is a good niche to be in, considering that we have partnered with the top institutes like Bansal classes, FIITJEE, Resonance etc,” Priyank says.
Standyou believes that it is a one-of-a-kind marketplace since the competition includes regular sponsored listing platforms like JustDial, StudyDekho, IndiaEducation.net.
Claiming to have enlisted over 20,000 coaching institutes from across the country, Priyank says that they have received over 80,000 online applications so far, with about 120 applications coming in every day.
The only challenge the team had to face was “collecting holistic sets of data points from the coaching institutes”, to better enhance visibility on the platform.
Priyank says, “We don’t want to compromise of any kind of data and details about the institutes, be it faculty experience or number of top rankers, which signifies the RoI for a student.”
Coaching institutes allocate large sums for their marketing budget, and Standyou compensates for some part of it with lead generation and a conversation rate of 30 percent. This establishes a win-win deal between the edtech startup and institutes, while keeping students and parents happy.
The numbers game
Having lost all of their money in their previous ventures, it was tough for Priyank and Rajan to build another company from scratch. But the boom in the edtech sector helped the startup increase revenues steadily. Standyou reported revenue of Rs 3.5 lakh in FY17, Rs 25 lakh in FY18, and Rs 38 lakh in FY19.
With more collaborations with coaching institutes and aggressive acquisitions planned, the team aims to hit the Rs 2 crore mark this fiscal year. The startup now has a listing presence across 120 cities, and aims to grow this as well.
“We intend to start looking for a fund-raise by the end of 2019, amplify our data-driven approach, and collect all the possible data points from institutes to expand PAN-India,” Priyank says.
The startup is looking to launch a pre-booking section with discounts up to 60 percent to help students learn better with lower fees.
“We want to be a marketplace like OYO, but for coaching institutes,” Priyank says.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)