When Chandraprakash Joshi left his secure job with the Reserve Bank of India two years ago to pump his savings to start an online tutorial service, most of his friends thought it a mistake. But for him, it was no less than a mission. In less than one and half years of operations since its launch in April 2017, the start-up already boasts 9 lakh users who are given personal training online to appear for competitive exams.
“Education is a privilege, especially if you stay in a remote area. I belong to a small place called Bhikiyasen in Uttarakhand, which many people in Delhi have not even heard of. In my entire school, I was the only person to pass the board examination. I was comfortable in an RBI job, but I still felt something must be done to those students who want to achieve something in life but are challenged by lack of opportunities,” Joshi said.
It was this lack of quality education in remote areas which became the force driving his start-up — ixamBee. And, considering the large population and lack of quality education in remote areas, there is good scope for online learning platforms to make a mark, a reason why start-ups like BYJU’S have been so successful.
“While there are other players in this space, our focus is to design programs for semi-urban and rural population. We also provide mock tests free of cost, which ensures that each and every student gets the best possible platform to study and prepare irrespective of their economic status,” Joshi added.
The idea has worked well for the company. The portal currently provides learning courses for more than 10 exams and free mock tests for 55 competitive exams. What is interesting is that almost 50 per cent of users are girls, mostly from underprivileged backgrounds from the remotest areas of Bihar, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Jharkhand.
“Consider the difference it can make to the life of people. I feel satisfaction when people write back to me,” Joshi added. The startup has a freemium business model in which 99 per cent of users learn for free and only a small section are paid users and has a target of acquiring a 5 million-strong user base within the next one year. “We have about `80 lakh invested by the co-founders. We are planning to raise funds from institutional investors,” Joshi added.