While preparing for competitive exams such as GRE, CAT and NEET, no amount of preparation is enough. It is important to check the understanding of concepts and identify weak ones for improvement. Mytestbuddy, founded by Dr. Deep Lodhari is an educational startup that helps students prepare for several competitive exams fully online. They have mock test series and online full length tests, virtual stimulation of the competitive examinations, thus allowing students to take diagnostic tests and get to know what are their weak and strong areas.The platform is social, with discussion forum that helps students brainstorm over ideas. Report Cards are generated that track your progress like never before, see your progress subject wise, topic wise and much more. Apart from helping students prepare for exams individually, Mytestbuddy has a separate program for teachers. MTB has online class feature for teachers, where teachers can create an online class on mytestbuddy.com and conduct MCQ Tests, send assignments and get detailed analytic report-cards for the students.
Mytestbuddy has won Indian education award 2012 for best use of social media in education organized by Indian education congress, utv Bloomberg, S Chand and franchise India. It was also awarded for educational excellence in innovative technology by Indus foundation, Hyderabad at Indo Global Education summit 2012. As of today, the platform has 30k+ registered students and 300+ registered teachers. There are 400+ colleges in Mytestbuddy college directory.
We catch up with Dr. Deep Lodhari, the founder of Mytestbuddy and Kaizad Hansotia, CMO. Read on till the last, to know a shocking truth about the Educational Startups in India!
According to the website, MyTestBuddy is India’s first educational social networking website. Tell us the story behind the Startup, and important milestones in the journey so far.
Mytestbuddy.com is outcome of what can only be described as the combination of sheer passion to solve the problems that I faced while preparing for the competitive examinations and the willingness to plunge into the uncharted seas of entrepreneurship leaving behind the secure life choice of being a doctor. Well, Yes I am a non practicing medical professional who has voluntarily chosen to become an entrepreneur and start an educational social learning space where students, teachers and other educational players can come together and help students study and prepare online for their examinations.
When I started fraternizing the idea of creating a portal that was truly a student companion, something which combines preparing online for the examinations along with grievance redressal and social annotation of the incomprehensible exam material, I found no parallel reference frame and hence started the process of trial and error and conducting research on the student learning methodologies. Mytestbuddy is that product which combines the best practices, where a student is constantly motivated to perform and along with that there are all available resources that one needs to excel in the examinations. With tool like Mytestbuddy a student can and will find it easy to achieve the goals that he/she has dreamt of.
Since its humble beginning as a blog for medical students, we have come a long way, we now have 30k+ students registered students from 8 different spheres and I believe that Mytestbuddy has struggled its way through and Now its rightly poised for growth.
What do you think of Indian Student & Teacher community – have they evolved to use Social Learning Platforms? What trends do you notice in this space?
[pullquote align=”right”]When we first started Mytestbuddy.com we found it extremely difficult to convince teachers for Mytestbuddy.com. We have come up with Mytestbuddy for teachers and Mytestbuddy for parents.[/pullquote]With 240 million+ internet users and with fast increasing penetration of internet in India, We can surely see that there is dramatic shift going on in the attitude towards internet and its usability. Yes, I agree with you that there is certain skepticism when it comes to internet and esp. social networking amongst teachers. .
We have come up with a more traditional veil for the extraordinary product. We have provided parents with a parent watch where parents can see their student’s products. We have online class for teachers, where they can monitor their students progress, give out specific tests and create content for their students, provide students with online assignments and much more.
Gandhiji said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win“.We have long been ignored and we have long been rejected as well, I believe that if you are persistent enough people will start accepting you. I believe that what we have created will help students prepare for their examinations and I will keep on evolving until everyone believes the same.
What is the revenue model of MTB ?
Mytestbuddy has multiple sources of revenue; however our mainstay is premium memberships for the students to prepare for various tests. Another product called as “Online Class” has a B2B Model where our customers are academic institutes and coaching centers that use our software as a service (SAAS). We give free logins to independent teachers. We also provide essential features for freemium users of Mytestbuddy.com, and pivot our revenue model around them.
Mytestbuddy’s offers Low-Cost, cloud based SAAS soultions for Educators, Academic Organizations, and Educational Institutions. Mytestbuddy offers various free and low-cost educational content, and online publishing platforms and hosting solutions towards redefining the internet from a entertaining distraction to a meaningful, transformative tool for students and societies alike. Whether you a teacher or represent an educational institution, college, or university, we’re here to help you with all stages of building, hosting, and promoting your online presence.
Please tell us the funding status of MTB. Has the startup break even, and are you looking for any funding?
Mytestbuddy is funded by friends and family, a completely bootstrapped company, we have grown from desktop pc office to a 3bhk flat cum residency office with 9 employees, 1 die-hard blogger, 20+ interns and 30k+ evangelists. We have invested 1.5 cr+ in developing of this company over 2.5 years and now we are at a point where we are little short of breaking even.
[pullquote align=”right”]I believe that the time has come when some capital investment is required to create better technological infrastructure and provide best services to our customers[/pullquote]. Over 50% of population of india are below the 25 years of age. Many of them are still studying and will compete for some entrance exam or the other depending on their career of choice. Yet, there is no single platform in india which the student can fully trust or reply upon for their learning needs without having to spend thousands of rupees of their parent’s hard earned money. Not only this, students should be able to access their educative content from any device in the world and, this is missing. We only have few players in this fragmented market.
Did you know that today, the average course(offline) for CAT and JEE is at least between 10-30,000 rupees or more, whereas at mytestbuddy one can study for cat only at Rs. 1200/-. We believe that an investment of 1 million dollar is something that will allow Mytestbuddy to grow exponentially by riding on the wave of technological change that education sector is about to witness in the coming years with the help of average internet speed shooting up to 3.1 Mbps according to a recent AKAMAI report, 2013.
What are the future plans for MTB?
For the first time in india, the individual teachers and small scale academic institutions that have mushroomed locally will be given an online platform to not just connect with their existing students and the MTB global community, but will also be able to garner many more information through our innovative platform which consist of Edu-Catalogue, create an Online-Class and share their resourceful material with their students thereby giving them a chance to interact with them both in-class and offline. This will increase the student engagement exponentially and every student would want to join an institute or choose a teacher that has significant online presence both in terms of sharing knowledge and building community learning.
Education Sector is a niche area, and there are quite innovative startups coming in this sector. What would be your suggestion to wannabe entrepreneurs entering this segment?
I am thankful for you to ask this question. Did you know that “It’s a nonexistent sector!!”according the world startup report- india report 2013. One of the World’s Youngest Nation, with almost 500 million+ students and we have no leaders in the ed tech space. Surely it’s a place where right innovation and right investment is required and definitely it’s the space where the investors should invest, for the future lies here.
We hope you enjoyed reading this interview as much as we did doing it. Here’s wishing Team MTB All the Very best!