A computer-adaptive test, Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) is the number one choice for admission for a wide range of management programmes, including MBA, Master of Accountancy and Master of Finance. Jai Mansukhani, 27, was preparing for GMAT putting in hours at his workplace. On the advice of his college seniors, Jai bought the official guides for GMAT and used online forums to discuss problems. There were two issues that came up when discussing on the forums — one, the sites were full of advertisements making the experience a frustrating one, and secondly, many answers would read like this, “In my humble opinion, the answer is either a or b or c.” This never helps.
His experience with Times Internet helped him understand how B2C (Business-to-consumer) sites work. He realised that there was an opportunity in this space and discussed the idea with his friend Ankit Gupta, 27, who jumped at the idea and dropped his IAS preparation plans to become the co-founder of GmatXchange. Both the founders are from Kanpur and are alumni of IIT-Kanpur with Jai being a Material Science engineer while Ankit is his senior and did Civil Engineering.
Jai worked with Intelliplanner Software Systems, Shopzilla Inc and Times Internet Limited in product lead capacities for five years while Ankit worked with his family’s retail business for two years after which he set his sights on the Indian Administration Service before starting GmatXchange.
GmatXchange provides an online forum for GMAT aspirants where students can discuss the problems and approaches required for each problem, students can discover teachers in their area, and it also offers GMAT application mentoring service. Some of the features of GmatXchange are that students can upvote/downvote answers, advertisements do not interfere with the user experience and there is a repository of the most common questions asked by the students.
Jai says, “We do have advertisements but they do not interfere with the user experience. GmatXchange also has a unique content tagging so that students can juggle with the difficulty level for targeted practice.” As GMAT aspirants would know, the questions usually have various difficulty levels, where greater the difficulty of the question, higher the marks.
They are also adding features like ‘Question Timer’ which will help students to time the questions, ‘Preparation Calendar’, which helps students keep track of GMAT dates and application deadlines. We are also planning on adding a payment gateway for transactions, says Ankit. They consider ‘GMATClub’ and ‘Beat The GMAT’ as their competitors although the founders believe that their clean interface and mobile friendly website puts them at an advantage.
A bootstrapped company with an initial investment of `15,000, the founders opine that getting content licences from test prep companies was a toughie. The questions posted on their website have been slowly gaining rank in search results. With a target of achieving 10,000 active students on the site for 2015, they are working on improving the product. Starting with Delhi, they plan to connect students and mentors and charge them for services offered, although it is free now.
The services offered are Customer Acquisition for Teachers and Application Mentors. There will be two set of charges on both the Teachers and application mentors. One would be the fixed annual cost for using the forum and services. Second will be charging a percentage fee from teachers and application mentors (about 10-20 per cent) for customers acquired by GmatXchange.