The world is changing and quickly moving to mobile devices, and so are we, says Ashutosh Kumar, CEO, Testbook, who explains that the Testbook venture is migrating to a primarily mobile-based platform to increase usage and user engagement
Give us the brief of the various reasons behind starting the venture Testbook?
The main reason to start Testbook was to address the growing need for affordable quality education and testing. Data is the key element to make learning more personalised, engaging and informative. Testbook employs a vast array of data analytics and machine learning techniques to give users the most accurate learning experience.
There is an excellent market opportunity. The majority of big exams are conducted online now. Students need platforms where they can practise and learn in simulated testing environments.The Internet is reaching each and every palm very fast and mobility is key in getting students to multi-task while doing mundane things like travelling.
We are migrating to a primarily mobile-based platform to increase usage and user engagement. The world is changing and quickly moving to mobile devices, and so are we.
What are the various difficulties encountered in doing business on ground level?
It was very difficult to create quality content which students could rely on and fortunately we have nailed it. Getting good, skilled people in a competitive industry to work in your startup with a small account balance is challenging. You need to inspire them with good ideas and a credible promise of great things ahead.
All of us are young entrepreneurs and most of the strategies we execute are based on trial and error, but are logical. And luckily we hit right on the target with most of them and as a result we have been able to achieve steep growth with close to 1 lakh user base in just 14-15 months.
What is the market size of the services offered by you in India at present?
We support a wide range of exams in the post-graduate market. From continuing higher studies, to public sector recruitment, students come to us for a variety of their needs. Currently the test prep market size stands at over 18 million students, with an annual growth rate of 20-25 per cent. At an average ticket size of Rs.10,000 the market value currently stands at around Rs.18,000 crore.
Testbook has been testing markets to discover that there is an untapped market. It aims at expanding to markets not covered under these. Currently, due to the unavailability of affordable classroom education, a lot of candidates do not end up taking these exams. Testbook aims at rectifying this.
What are the major benefit for organisations and individuals adopting your solutions?
Students can learn and test themselves from anywhere and at any time at just the price of a cup of coffee. Analysis and recommendations provided by Testbook help them locate their weak points accurately and get the edge over their competitors.
User experience on testbook.com has been found to be a happy learning experience. Our user engagement in terms of daily time spent on the site is more than thrice that of any other site in the e-learning space. In fact, according to Alexa, it is more than that of Youtube. We think it says something about us that an e-learning site can engage users the way bigwigs like Youtube can.
We have the ability to scale into classrooms. We partner with institutes and teaching establishments to bring the Testbook advantage to students everywhere.
Institutions can manage and track the performance of their students in a very smart way which would turn a good result for them.
What is the vision of your company for the next two years?
Create the best learning platform on mobile and web-app is the focus. It will be of international standard, personalised, adaptive and will support all the major competitive exams being conducted in India and abroad.
What are the various methods you are using to increase the visibility of your organisation?
We have a Campus Ambassador Programme where we have two-three representatives in each college and they represent Testbook’s activities on their campuses. Currently we have the Campus Ambassadors’ network in over 150 colleges pan India and will reach 1500 by end of this year. Our Campus Ambassadors are young entrepreneurs in training who utilise novel techniques to accelerate our growth in these places.
Content Marketing is fetching us growth organically at high pace and social media has proved one of the high visibility platforms.
How you can differentiate your services from your competitors?
Testbook has the best interface and comparative test analysis. Students love and choose us over our competitors for this. Content quality is always at the highest priority in all of Testbook’s efforts and we have been complimented with the ‘best content’ in the market by our users.
Engaging blog and social media posts that support our content marketing strategies. Our tie-ups with educational institutions have made us the leader in the industry. As the only e-learning institute with the capacity to scale with market needs, we have firmly established ourselves as the go-to for many educational institutions.
Tell us about the ways of engaging the customers with you. Any special Case study?
As our team has grown to over 30 people now, all of us have made it a habit to regularly get in touch with our customer base to get their feedback on different aspects of Testbook.com like content and platform. We are regularly surprised with the amount of appreciation they have for Testbook.com.
We connect with our users via email, live chat, phone and text. Every time an exam is conducted we get lot of mails from users saying that they found same questions from our tests in their final exam which is very motivating for us.
For the GATE 2015 test series, we offered a host of rewards to encourage and motivate students. These included Macbook Air laptops and HP Android Tablets to toppers. But apart from all these, we also offered cashback to users for every correct answer in the test series in order to incentivize learning. These proved to be a success. We had students aiming for accuracy in their tests, treating them like the actual GATE exam.
What are the major stakeholders and sectors you are focusing on?
We are primarily focused on competitive exams being taken by students after they graduate like GATE, Bank PO, Bank Clerk, Insurance, CAT and Campus Placements. All together over 1.8 crore students takes these exams every year.
Major stakeholders are offline coaching centres which have localised presence in different parts of country. But for the wide range of exams we are targeting, there is no single nation wide brand.
What are the various initiatives taken by your organisation to emerge as a market leader?
In education space, content is king and in order to sustain for long to be the market leader, you must focus on content quality. As mentioned earlier, we promise to deliver the best content in the industry.
Technology changes so fast that you need to be innovative to sustain for long and we do exactly that. We tweak our platform on a daily basis to give our users the best experience.
Looking at the volume of students for all these competitive exams, we focus more on growth than on revenue and this will definitely give us the lead in the market. That we have the luxury to do so, talks a lot about investor confidence in our venture.