Gradeup is a Noida based startup. It was founded by Shobhit Bhatnagar, Vibhu Bhushan and Sanjeev Kumar in September 2015. According to the official website of Gradeup, it is the fastest way to connect with peers, mentors and resources which help students; achieve their educational goals. Its aim is to revolutionize education industry and leapfrog everyone to become the 1st billion dollar education technology company in India.
Gradeup is actually the stronger, brawny and newer version of GradeStack. This troika worked together in 2013 and came up with a platform partnered with educational publishers to create mobile-friendly exams with interactive content for students preparing for various competitive examinations. The aim of GradeStack was to make education engaging and available on the go. In a year’s time, it touched over half a million downloads across more than 30 courses. However, this was the maximum growth GradeStack could achieve. There was no progress from this level and finally, it had to shut down.
But they bounced back and remolded their app as per new generation and new approach. And the product that came up with is Gradeup. Here is the account of what one of the founders had to say when we bombarded him with our questions .
1. Tell us everything about your startup, what does it do? What were the challenges of setting up and scale? How did you overcome them? Gradeup aspires to be India’s largest and most engaged community for online learning. Within a year of launch (in Sep 15), Gradeup’s android app has been downloaded by over 1.6 million students with a rating of 4.6 on google play store, and has received phenomenal response in terms of engagement and feedback of students. Gradeup is currently positioned as a one stop test prep app for major exams in India including Banking, SSC, GATE, TET (teaching), CAT, and JEE. Students can ask their doubts, access study material, practice and benchmark their preparation among thousands of other students. We aim to cater to all leading exams in India and then extend the platform to school education.
2. How did you come up with the idea and what was the Eureka moment? Mobile and internet technology have disrupted many industries and are transforming others as we speak. In education space, two major movements are towards democratisation and personalisation of learning. Millions of students and working professionals are able to access world class content over the web or on mobile devices, which is well structured, engaging, and is largely free. While these trends are creating change, there is often lack of engagement and retention on these platforms.
At Gradeup we believe that, access to good content, when combined with the power of online communities, can make learning process significantly more collaborative and engaging, and hence much more impactful. We imagined Gradeup as a place where learners can interact with each other and help each other, can access study material and other resources relevant to them, and seek guidance from experts. We really feel that such a platform can become the centre of learning for millions of students. It is this promise which forms the core of value proposition at Gradeup. READ Top Online Education Apps.
3. How did you build the core team? How did you meet and how did everyone align to the idea? All three founders have been passionate about Edu-tech space and they have worked on multiple concepts in this space before coming together to form the idea of Gradeup. Shobhit had worked on a testing and assessment platform while Vibhu and Sanjeev worked on content digitisation technologies.
4. Give us a background of your core team and yourself with the age. Shobhit Bhatnagar – CEO: A graduate of IIM Calcutta, Shobhit heads all things business, from content operations to marketing plans. Vibhu Bhushan– Product Head: Completed his engineering from NSIT, Delhi and previously worked with Yahoo and Naukri. Sanjeev Kumar- CTO: An engineer from MBM, Jodhpur, Sanjeev is our Ninja and leads our development and testing effort.
5. What has been Revenue, traction and growth from the date of inception till now? The best part of our journey so far has been the acceptance of the idea among Students. In less than a year – Gradeup app crossed 1 million downloads on google play store. Not only that, our blog has a traffic of 3 million monthly visits and is steadily growing. Students find Gradeup app immensely helpful for their preparation compared to other apps, as a result of which 60 million and more questions are attempted on Gradeup every month. For revenue, we are trying out certain ideas which will give us the required direction for building and scaling the business. Currently our revenue is coming mostly from ads on the web blog.
6. What is the one thing that sets you apart from your competitors and what’s your revenue model? The openness of platform is the core of our proposition that sets us apart from competitors. Most of our competitors are in the business of selling content either online or offline or in both forms. At Gradeup, due to our single minded focus on the engagement of users on platform, we are completely open to promoting good content, teachers and resources from any part of the country in an open and democratic manner. This puts power back in the hands of large number of teachers and students who can come together to power this community and make learning affordable and accessible to all.
7. How are you funded? We raised Series A funding.
8. Please share your Future plans In addition to the community expansion plan that we talked about, we aim to focus on the massive data that is being collected on the platform to make learning more personalized for students so that they can seek better guidance and improve faster. We have already started personalizing the content that students access based on the interaction and questions answered.
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