Technology has altered the way we live today. Weather, it’s our sharing and expressing through social media platforms, technology is available everywhere say in healthcare or education everything is digitalized. As we get more acumen with technology new concepts are added each day to make our life comfortable.
Today, start-ups are devoting themselves towards a wiser vision and also deriving a win-win situation for everyone by investing in edutech sector.
Let’s meet Tarun and his wife Roohi Khera Uppal believes that learning skills are the foundation of all learning in life. These learning skills make learning possible. Without these skills children struggle to learn, underachieve in school and never reach their full learning potential. This is need of an hour that children should be taught how to learn. They need to develop basic learning skills that allow them to learn anything, anywhere, anytime. With this thought in mind they have built an Edutech learning platform for kids. The firm E-Online Tutors Pvt. Ltd. o/a is incorporated in US this is going good. Now, they are keen on expansion in India as well. So, let’s hear their story.
Q: Tell us something about yourself?
Tarun: I am a married person running in my 30’s. Born and bought up in a small town of Punjab and follows Buddhism. We did have our family business but I and my wife Roohi, are working on a different venture, i.e. E-Online Tutors, but support from family has been phenomenal.
Q: How getting into business did come to your mind?
Tarun: After graduating in Business administration, I joined my father’s construction business. Everything was good but the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction was missing and I started search for my own Mojo. Started my entrepreneurial journey in 2003 with a 2 seat BPO from the basement of my house, and it was in 2005 when I incorporated Creed Infotech Pvt Ltd in India and in USA. From more than a decade our firm is working mainly in International markets. We specialize in BPO, KPO & Education. The growth has been phenomenal for us, ramping up operations to 125+ seats from just 2 seats when I started without any external funding.
Q: So how did you moved to EduTech from Outsource Processing business?
Tarun: Creed Infotech is going good. It was my first venture and I love it to my core. But Vanya E-Online Tutors is the need of an hour, when I am a parent myself and see my kids studying in the current education system and adding my own experience of studying in the old system of education compelled me to think of ways to improve the situation kid’s face while growing up. I am a firm believer that up to 80% of child’s success at school depends upon education he/she gets at home.
Q: Explain us what your business concept is all about?
Roohi: Offering Online tutoring, test preparation, language courses we have everything needed for better education and necessary grooming of a kid. The focus was to connect with every important link in child education. Therefore, we expanded our portal to parents. Under this we wish parents to understand parenting and get involved in their child’s education. By adding all the stakeholders in online education we complete the cycle. Now, we have parents, students, counselors & tutors corroborating together for the upbringing of a child in a measured scientific manner.
Q: How comfortable is it to have your wife as co-partner?
Tarun: Having my wife as a co-founder is the biggest asset for any entrepreneur. A wife is someone you can trust and always look forward for suggestions, discussions & sharing your ups and lows & most importantly wife will always challenge your decisions which help in refining ones approach.
Q: What is the USP of your business?
Roohi: Our free on line assessment helps you discover your child’s learning skills so that you can help him or her develop those that are missing or weak and help your child reach his or her full learning potential, succeed in school and have a life full of opportunities and happiness. Based upon specific needs of your child’s education, we will provide appropriate support through our online education products & services.
We are the only online education company offering Proprietary Licensed psychometric test to determine natural learning style and skill level of a child. Based upon this information we provide solution tailored made for the progress of a child. We involve Parents by training them on parenting.
Online tutoring: Provided in Math, Science & English academic subjects in K-12 & College Grade with tutors who are not only subject matter experts but also are trained in teaching as per the Natural Learning style of the child.
Parenting support: is a one Month counselling program where, parents along with specially trained Teachers can work with our Learning Leaders. They work on two skill sets which need to be developed in their child.
Free support: available in the form of videos & Blogs. Parents can search for the parenting issues they are facing and will get solutions in the form of videos & Blogs written by Dr. Patricia Porter and other world renowned Educators & Learning Leaders. The Psychometric test and a 30 minutes break through call from the Learning Leader are also free as of now.
For students: can register for free, take One free demo in the subject they need support. They can ask one question a day free of cost. We will be introducing free test series for students who come on Vnaya, to practice for their tests & exams.
So, basically we are building a community of Parents & Students by enabling Vnaya to become that One Brand, they would come to for any support or issues they are facing in respect of Educational Progression of a student.
Q: Any hardships did you faced while setting up your business?
Tarun: Starting Edtech Venture from Mohali was not an easy task. We did not had the luxury of hiring people from same industry, so we had to learn everything by doing which meant a lot of burn rate during the first few years. To keep on running the venture, fuelling its survival with whatever resources we had was the toughest part. Being bootstrapped and self-funded, we have had seen lows where it seemed an impasse, still we were never defeated and could always find a ray of hope and get out of the hole. In the first two years of our operations we were badly hit by the off season which is eminent in education industry. With a lot of research and efforts we were able to enter into Australian/New Zealand market to ensure that we are not badly hit during summer break in North America.
Q: What your family business is about?
Tarun: My father had been active Building & construction contractor with Military Engineering Services. So I had witness the volatility and ups & down of being in business since the beginning. I always had keep interest in my father’s business and was always exploring new business ideas since my early teens.
Q: What are the strategies that you are adopting to promote your online business?
Tarun: We acquire our customers through call centre telemarketing model & we use organic online marketing as well though most important and affective marketing channel for us has been our existing customers. We believe & work toward creating happy customer experience which becomes a marketing channel for us since we get a lot of customers & publicity through word of mouth.
Q: How did you make people convince to come to your online platform?
Roohi: We offer a “Free Demo” of our services where we give a real experience of the actual service our prospective customers will get. That helps in gaining the trust and converts a prospective customer into a paid one.
Q: What is your advice for the budding entrepreneurs?
Tarun: More than a brilliant idea or funding it is the “Execution” which is fundamental for starting a venture and to scale it further. The best way to be successful is to start up, fail, learn, grow and re-learn.
Q: According to you what is the right age for anyone to enter into entrepreneurship?
Tarun: I think informally we all should teach entrepreneurship to our kids at a very early age, though not knowingly. I believe that the subject and its practical aspect need to be inculcated at a very young age. Entrepreneurship is a “Spirit” which can be used in any profession or position, be it a house wife, an artist, employee or an entrepreneur.
Q: What according to you are start-up necessities?
Tarun: To have a strong desire to change something for the good. Add value to something, which will help others and masses at large. The vision an entrepreneur has while envisioning a product, a solution matters a lot toward the success of an enterprise. If the vision and goal is profound then rest of the things like tech co-founder, funding, business model, marketplace etc. follows.
Q: Best marketing strategy for an educational online start-up?
Roohi: Education is a serious matter for all parents across the board. It is never an impulsive purchase which is the case with commodities, electronics etc. So, rather than just focusing on packaging & branding one need to create a real value in term of end result. If one is able to produce a positive result and demonstrate it to masses then it becomes the best marketing strategy for an Ed tech product or service.
Q: Relevant practices that you are following for minimizing operational and other associated costs?
Roohi: We are constantly working on automation of our processes through innovation & technology. This is mid-term start resulting in reducing operating cost.