Think Exam, Think Exambazaar | How this Jaipur Startup is changing the way student take Admissions in Coaching Classes
The hard part isn’t making a product anymore. The hard part is finding a market for your product and getting them to buy it. Marketing is one of the most crucial components for every startup and is extremely critical for growing from a few customers to thousands of customers. And this journey of growth is different for every startup. At Headstart’s Startup Saturday organized at Malaviya National Institute of Technology Jaipur – “0-100 Customers and Beyond”, Gaurav Parashar, Founder of Exambazaar, India’s largest one-stop shop for Competitive Exams and Coaching Centers told the story of the startup that seeks to revolutionize the Edtech space in India.
Think Exam, Think Exambazaar
Exambazaar was started in 2017 by Gaurav Parashar, an alumnus of IIT Bombay and IIM Bangalore and a former investment banker at Deutsche Bank & Goldman Sachs, London and Saloni Khandelwal, an alumna of IIT Delhi, with the objective of revolutionizing how students take admission in Coaching Classes. At Exambazaar, lakhs of students search for their ideal Coaching Class in 400+ cities for 50+ entrance exams using the vast database of information and reviews about Coaching Classes. Exambazaar also helps students in their daily exam preparation with Free Previous Year Question Papers, Coaching Mock Tests, Daily Exam Question a Day, Daily Current Affairs and Preparation Strategies from past toppers and top coaching classes to understand the demands of the market they were aiming for, Exambazaar did student surveys to find out the problems they face in seeking admission to coaching Classes and preparing for admission tests. Exambazaar partnered with educational companies like 3M, Pearson and Dr. Bhatia Medical Coaching Institute to increase their outreach, and once they started receiving around 1lakh students per month, they offered them admission in their partner coaching Classes.
Initial customers were requested to provide feedback to help Exambazaar improve, and to recommend Exambazaar to friends and family if they were satisfied with the service. For the value conscious Indian customer, Exambazaar offered the perfect solution-the best education at the best prices.
What helped Exambazaar go from 0-100 customers?
Things which helped Exambazaar to go from 0-100 customers included understanding the needs of the student and the parents, being student-first in approach and asking recommendations from the paying customers to get new customers. While most of us are now used to online payments, students and payments, especially from Tier 3 and Tier 4 cities are still hesitant of performing transactions online. We started assigning EB Buddy to every student to help them join their ideal Coaching Class. The buddy’s responsibility went beyond the transaction but also to comfort and educate the students and parents about their options.
Challenges faced by Exambazaar and how they dealt with them
For a young startup, customer satisfaction and trust-building works wonder for steady growth. Exambazaar built its customer base by providing secure payment options and convenient payment methods for students looking to purchase courses through their site. They also provide student testimonials, unbiased reviews and rankings of coaching Classes and colleges, and interviews with toppers to help students in their educational journey. Paired with a blog dedicated to useful and inspirational articles for students, Exambazaar was well on its way to becoming India’s largest educational marketplace.
Exambazaar focuses on growth through customer feedback. Students purchasing courses through Exambazaar are asked to give their feedback and suggestions about the service. The team also requests satisfied customers to recommend them to their network of friends and acquaintances so as to increase outreach in the target market.
Education as a sector is tough to gain traction. Torn apart between those who feel that education and business should not be mixed and those who feel that Coaching Classes solve an important problem which schools and colleges aren’t able to fulfil. Reaching to customers is expensive and finding ways to educate them to transact online is also a challenge. Patience and resilience are bound to be tested for most Ed-Tech startups looking to change habits and behaviour of students, parents and educational institutions.
Challenges in the EdTech sector
EdTech as a sector is a slow burner, not just in India but across the globe. The low frequency of purchase and absence of moats in the Coaching Industry make it a tough one to scale up. While over 2 crore students prepare for some or other exam in India, they are being served by 40,000 Coaching Classes. The underlying Coaching Classes compete aggressively for three things with each other – students, faculty and advertising space. The intense competition leads to significant churn in Coaching Classes as compared to schools and colleges. Exambazaar is helping change the sector by connecting the students and coaching classes in an organized fashion over the internet. Tech gives the quietest student a voice and that too a strong voice. We feel this sector is ripe for disruption, maybe not so much in the way students study, but the way they purchase their courses and the price they pay for it.
The Startup community in Jaipur
Jaipur offers a vibrant space for young start-ups to operate, compete and find their product MVP. As a capital city, Jaipur offers connectivity, networking and infrastructure for a budding startup community, almost on par with Bangalore and Delhi. Jaipur’s proximity to the flourishing educational hubs of Delhi and Kota helped Exambazaar create its relevance in the competitive exam market. The company grew out of Jaipur’s government-funded state-of-the-art business incubator Techno Hub.
As part of the “Digital Rajasthan” project to nurture entrepreneurship and startup culture, Techno Hub provides end-to-end support to startups, ranging from infrastructure, technology, angel funding, access to venture capitalists, mentorship, exposure to national and international organisations and experts and much more. Techno Hub helped craft Exambazaar’s success story with state-of-the-art infrastructure, mentorship and healthy competition and is currently home to a number of young start-ups looking to expand their business and outreach. Despite the advantages, Jaipur is somewhat lacking in hiring talent ready to work in a Startup ecosystem and offers a small and has a small and upcoming Angel Investor Community.