In Conversation With Rajeev Tamhankar Of TBS Planet - India's Answer To DC & Marvel

TBS Planet is a content studio based out of Bangalore. They started their operations this year with a range of comic books across various genre from Indian action superheroes to comedies to horrors and thrillers. 

Founder Rajeev Tamhankar is a silver medalist from IIT Roorkee, who has previously worked in Flipkart and Xiaomi in various roles. 

We managed to speak to Rajeev about TBS Planet, comics in India and other interesting tidbits. The excerpts are as follows:

On what made him come up with the idea of launching a content studio leaving a comfortable corporate path to success.

"I loved writing since I was a kid. I used to tear-off the central pages of my notebooks, staple them; write and draw comics all over it and then relish as if I have authored few books – that was my boyhood dream. After graduating from my college, IIT Roorkee, I also authored a book titled “Get Corporated before you get fired!” and that is when I took writing much more seriously. Post the launch of this book, I got feedback from lot of readers that it would have been very interesting to see this work in a graphic novel style. At the same time, I was also working on a script around the mysteries of submerged city of Dwarka under the title of “Varun”. This series was being written in the format of a novel but I then realized that there was so much happening in the script that it seemed much more fun to present it using graphics. That’s where the comic books startup clicked. I named it “Thought Bubbles Studio” as I wanted to stand it for imagination, creativity and freshness. Since TBS will be a complete planet of imaginary heroes, villains and events around them, hence I came up with the brand -TBSplanet.com"

On TBS Planet

"TBS Planet aims to bring back the comics culture to India. We are creating Indian universe of superheroes. Our character – “Ved” had become the #1 bestseller on Amazon within fifteen days of launch. We then launched another character “Varun” at Comic Con Hyderabad. We are also developing comics for Bollywood movies including “A Flying Jatt” by Balaji Motion Pictures and “Shivaay” by Ajay Devgn Ffilms.
TBS Planet is now among top 100 startups of India as recognized by Times Now and ET Now. We are currently working on a mobile app that we are targeting to release this Diwali so that people can read comics while traveling in cabs or buses or trains."

Most important question! Funding!

"Currently I am funding the venture from my personal savings. I have worked for about three years at Flipkart and over an year at Xiaomi. Fortunately, had accumulated some savings that I am able to use up as my initial investment."

On Indian market and significant growth opportunities

"The Indian comic publishing industry is estimated to be worth over $100 million and is expected to grow more in the coming years. The country is currently home to sales of five million English comic books annually.
With the events like Comic Cons and growing interest of Hollywood in movies like Iron Man, Captain America, Batman etc. there has been a spike in comics consumption in India as well.
Here is a graph of comparison between search terms “comics” and “novels” as reported by Google trends as on 5th October 2016. As is clearly visible, there are about 1.5 times more people searching for “comics” than “novels” in India already.
 
With regards to Indian superheroes, I surely think there is a huge demand for it. That has already been supported by “Ved” becoming #1 bestseller on Amazon within fifteen days of launch. We are looking forward to replicating similar success stories across our characters."

Timeline for launch into animation and video games

We will look at expanding into animation, videos and games next year. This year is focused on developing the characters and bringing out the mobile app.

Major Indian competitors

Amar Chitra Katha, Diamond Comics, Raj Comics and many other publishers that are active in Indian comics scene are all competitors.

On expansion plans into the international market

Yes, in few years. First two years will be focused on Indian ecosystem and building the brand in India. We have already started seeing lot of interest from Bollywood industry as we are developing comics around their characters. Once we establish in India, we will certainly soon move to other international markets as well.

TBS is looking to launch the "Shivaay" graphic novel. We of-course wanted the inside scoop!

"The readers and fans will have a treat reading the comic as the book’s story and characters are completely independent of the movie.
This story is based on a mission that Shivaay undertakes on the request of “India Meteorological Department” (IMD), the primary agency of Government of India responsible for meteorological observations. IMD, which has its centres across Asiatic and Antarctic continent, plans to establish its observation centre at the North Pole.  IMD’s officers Vishal and Vikrant thus accompanied by trained mountaineer Shivaay reach the prospective location – an extinct volcano. However to their horror, they encounter a woolly mammoth, a species that used to inhabit the Earth about millions of years ago. The comic takes us on a thrilling ride as Shivaay along with his comrades unravel the hidden mystery behind this episode.  The book will be retailed through all leading e-commerce websites and will also be available at select bookstores and retail outlets. Readers are requested to check back our website – TBSPlanet.com and our social media pages: FB.com/TBSPlanet, Instagram.com/TBSPlanet and Twitter.com/TBSPlanet for further updates. Readers can alternatively mail us at sales@TBSPlanet.com for any queries or suggestions." 

Lumos Design - Bringing Affordable Wearable Tech To You!

"Lumos Design Technology was founded with the vision to harness all energy we are exposed to."

Lumos is at the forefront of the wearable tech revolution in India. One of the first companies in the region to go into the wearable tech field, Lumos has grown in leaps and bounds since it's inception and currently exports their products to nine countries outside India. 

We had the opportunity to talk with Gandharv Bakshi - founder of Lumos - regarding his company, their vision and their outlook going forward.

About Lumos - what they do

Lumos makes wearable technology backpacks for cyclists. Lumos is one of the few start-ups that design, make and sell a made in India product at a premium in countries like Germany, USA and Australia. Lumos’ quality and standards are recognized world-over - The Lumos ThrillSeeker was voted by BikeMagazin.de as one of the “15 innovations” at EuroBike-2015.

The "Inception" of Lumos

We are very active members of the cycling community - and most of our social circles comprise of cyclists too! So, we understand cyclists at a psychological level, both from our own needs and also from observing our fellow cyclists. Add to this the anguish and pain the entire community goes through every time a cyclist is seriously injured or killed in an accident. Each member of the team has gone through the intense pain points we solve for cyclists! So, all our products are intended to solve the problems we ourselves face as cyclists! 

Major Competitors In India

No. However, for any new segment, competition is a good thing since they spread awareness about the segment. In our case, our strongest competition in India would be normal but well-established backpacks without any tech component. 

Wearable Tech Market in India in general

Wearable Tech is a very broad category. Wearable Tech that is targeting active-wear (running, cycling etc) is still emerging in India and the active-wear market isn’t that large as far as we know. We are still in the consumer education phase – the explosion is ahead of us yet. Additionally, the market also tends to be price-sensitive which is consistent with its early-days nature. 

Major products in India

Lumos just launched a new revolutionary product – Aster, the world’s safest commute backpack. Aster's rear and profile lights make you visible to motorists from all sides, front lights signal your presence in rear-view mirrors and automatic brake lights help you avoid getting rear-ended. Integrated turn signals make sure that drivers around you know when you’re making a turn. Aster is the safest backpack in the world – it has no equal!

We also make and sell the Lumos ThrillSeeker, which has the distinction of being the lightest Solar Backpack in the world. The ThrillSeeker is designed for cyclists and is fit with a 3W unique Solar Fabric, which charges an inbuilt 4,000 mAh battery. The backpack enables riders to charge their gadgets (Mobile phones, Mp3 players, Smart watches, GPS devices, bike lights) on the go and makes sure they are never out of charge! 

Future plans for Lumos

With over 180 Million cyclists in the world, we haven’t even made a dent yet. We are currently building our customer base and aspire to be the World’s leading cycling backpack brand. Over the next 4 years, we would geographically expand our reach and build our Marketing team and reach. Additionally, we also will continually expand our product line, with Aster’s Jersey version being next on the agenda. 

Major export markets

85% of our sales result from Exports. This year, US is our single largest export country. Apart from US, we have also sold in UK, Mexico, Germany, Australia, and Japan. If we could count individually all the countries where we have sold, we have sold in 44 countries! 

Government funding or support

No, we haven’t. However, the paper-work required in seeking any export subsidies means it becomes impossible for a resource-starved startup to pursue. Though we export significantly, we are unable to take advantage of any of the export subsidies. That apart, we are quite happy and comfortable with the current level of support.

Take An Exclusive Look At How A U.S. Trained Pilot Ended Up As A Millionaire Entrepreneur

Among the new generation of entrepreneurs in India, perhaps no-one has a story more interesting than Saumya Gupta - the founder of Ten on Ten Clothing! 
We had an opportunity of hearing about her story and her views here at Privy!
Below are the details:

You have had a very interesting story so far! Trained to be a pilot! And ended up a millionaire entrepreneur! Could you tell our readers a bit more about your story?

 I was always good with clothing & styling. Just decided to make the most of what I knew as it was easier to execute. I am a girl, of course I love clothes! 2008 recession did not open the opportunity of a job in aviation for me. I had to do something to grow further in life. One day just asked my parents if I wanted to sell clothes, would they let me, they agreed & supported.

What separates “Ten on Ten” from other competitors in the market? Who will you say are your top competitors?

Ten on Ten is catering to the core needs of a woman with a pinch of style. Our manufacturing standards are very high, made in dust free environments. Most of our items are lab tested. We are also ISO 9001:2000 certified in quality. I’m competing with myself & hope to be as big as "Vero Moda" someday

How would you generally describe the clothing industry in India – especially in comparison with more developed markets in the west?

The clothing industry in India is full of colour, vibrancies, innovation and creativity with a flavor which is in consonance with the rich traditional flavours & aromas of our country. Growth is there in India due to the emerging middle class & hunger for creative & new kind of fusion clothing. The west has been there done that, leaving less scope for growth & they don’t work on fusion lines.

Not coming from a typical entrepreneurial background, how hard was it to get “Ten on Ten” off the ground?

I do come from an entrepreneurial background, my father is an entrepreneur. We are baniyas! We do not take up jobs. Our blood cells scream for business. Never the less, my journey to take Ten on Ten off the ground was not easy at all. It was very sacrificing & demanding, I made huge mistakes. But I learnt a lot from it.

What would you say where the biggest challenges you faced in your journey as an entrepreneur? How have the challenges evolved today compared to what they were when you started off?

The biggest challenge for any entrepreneur is MONEY. Unfortunately to make Money you need money. When I started loans weren’t that easy, I worked in a call center to raise money to pump into my business. I think loans are easy now.

 What are your opinions on the policies by the various state governments as well as the central government to facilitate start up formation in India?

Its great, I mean USA has always kept loans easy to start ventures. I'm glad India is doing that too. Now there will be equal opportunity for everyone to come up with ideas & execute it.

Do you think we need policies like “Start Up India” and “Make In India”?

I think only the 1200 cr + companies have benefitted with this. Can’t really think of any SME that has benefitted from Make in India.

Start Up India- Yes makes sense. In fact it’s even a subject that might be included in colleges. Encouraging for everyone.

Saumya Gupta

Take An Exclusive Look At What Aswath Damodaran - Finance Whiz Thinks Of India And It's Finance!

Aswath Damodaran is a professor of Finance at the NYU Stern School of Business where he holds the Kerschner Family Chair in Finance Education. He is well known in the global world of finance and is well respected for his unique and modern views on 'Valuation' and techniques. He has consulted with many of the Fortune 500 companies and maintains his own blog "Musings on Markets" which all finance students should follow religiously! 

Recently we were very pleased when he agreed to have a short chat with us regarding India and Finance! 

 

Aswath Damodaran

Here are the excerpts!

 

You are well known for your valuations and regular updates about the U.S. economy via your blog and other forums. Do you follow the Indian economy as regularly? If so, what are your views on the current state of the Indian economy?

I don’t follow economies. I value companies. In other words, I spend very little time thinking about the future of the US economy, inflation or interest rates, even as I value US companies for two reasons. Thinking about it does not make anything any clearer. Also, forecasting macroeconomic changes is a crap shoot that no one does well.

Generally, most practitioners view the Indian market for finance as still immature and developing. What are your views?

All markets are immature, since they are populated with traders, who happen to be human beings. There are some self inflicted wounds in the Indian market that can be fixed, including opening up corporate governance at family-run companies and getting rid of the notion of a promoter, a throw back to an earlier age. On any given day, any market (including the US or a European market) can behave in what you call an immature way, but I don’t think of it in those terms. Investor irrationality is a feature of markets, not a bug.

Aswath Damodaran

What do you think of the Indian governments’ efforts to drive manufacturing by boosting spending through their own budget as well as extending never before seen support to foreign firms via the ‘Make In India’ initiative?

About as much as I think about any government initiative anywhere in the world. You will have a lot of political speeches, Kabuki policy moves, insiders will get rich, money will be spent and nothing will happen (and may even get worse). And remember that when you hear appeals to patriotism, it is because you can no longer think of good economic reasons.

 

The tools and practice of valuation is intimidating to most laymen, who assume that they do not have the skills and the capability to value companies. In this talk, I propose to lay out four simple propositions about valuation.

What are your views on the current Reserve Bank Governor – Raghuram Rajan? Do you agree with his monetary policies? What changes would you like to see?

I think Raghu Rajan is one of the brightest intellectual minds in the universe but his policies have to work through multiple bureaucratic hurdles and Indian bureaucrats are masters in the art of delay and distract. So, Rajan needs help and I hope that he gets it.

 

Over the past few years, India has seen unprecedented growth in new internet based firms coming up – Flipkart, Snapdeal, Edureka and others – which have achieved extremely high valuations from VC’s without being able to show profitability from operations. Have you done any valuations on them? What are your views on the sustainability of these firms?

Take a deep breath. Have Indians made unprecedented changes in how they interact with the internet? Go into even the smallest villages in India and you see how ubiquitous cell phone service and Whatsapp have become. The world is changing and there is an entire group of firms globally that are trying to take advantage of the change. They don’t have much to show yet, but so what? Value is based on expectations of the future. I think that collectively, young companies in big markets will be over priced but that again is a feature of optimistic, growing markets, not a bug. So, please, let’s stop wringing our hands about bubbles and irrational investors and get on with it.

 

You have received your education in some of the best institutions in both India and the U.S. How would you rate the Indian education system in comparison with the U.S. system? If there are certain things you would like to change for the Indian education system, what will be the most important ones?

The essence of education is a good teacher, not technology or class structure. I have good teachers in both India and the US and bad teachers in both places. My fundamental problem with Indian education is that colleges (both new and existing) tend to spend too much on infrastructure (land, great looking buildings) and not enough on good teachers. We need to find a way to get those among our best and brightest who have a passion for teaching and get them into classrooms and then pay them enough to not have to take a second job to make ends meet.

Aswath Damodaran Kerschner Family Chair in Finance Education, NYU Stern India Business Forum: India in the 21st Century Friday, January 11, 2013 Mumbai, India

 

You are one of the most renowned professors of finance currently and you generally describe yourself as a teacher first. If you could give some advice to the teachers as well as the students of finance, what will they be?

The world is full of lessons that we can learn. So, keep the feedback loop open, learn from everyone around you (especially those that you think know little about finance) and be willing to change your mind. And don’t forget to have fun along the way..

Take An Exclusive Look At How An ISB Alumni Is Trying To Change The HealthCare Services Industry In India

Kivihealth.com is an online ‘market network’ intended for patients and doctors where the promoters plan to combine marketplace and social network in healthcare space. With marketplace model they plan to enable transactions of healthcare between various stakeholders using our digital wallet and social network as well as by giving identity to different players in healthcare such as doctors, patients, laboratories and pharmacies.

We, at Privy Data, recently had the chance to have a talk with Mr. Rajandeep Singh - one of the main promoters of KiviHealth! Below is an excerpt of our talk!

Rajandeep Singh

The mix of cloud based software applications and healthcare seems unusual! What made you come up with such an idea? Also, would you describe Kivi Health as a software firm or a healthcare firm?

Right now health transactions and health information is handled physically and there are not many solutions available in the market that provide an easy to use platform which can reduce doctor as well as patient’s time leading to more efficiency and more satisfaction. Hence we are trying to solve this problem; we have started by providing Clinical Management Solutions to doctors that helps in increasing engagement and providing better customer satisfaction. KiviHealth is a healthcare technology firm. Healthcare because problem we are trying to solve is of healthcare. Though health is the most important thing in life, healthcare delivery is yet to be disrupted and patients themselves haven’t embraced technology to improve their health. Technology because we are selling software and innovation in software product will be our mainstay to create this business.

How has the customer response been so far for Kivi Health?

Our initial target has been doctors and response from them has been pretty good. In only 3-4 months of sales we have been able to reach 80 doctors and are challenging present solutions in the market. We plan to keep on innovating and generate more and more value to our customer. We have tried upselling to few of our customers and have been successful in this. 

Does Kivi Health have a presence Pan-India or is it located in only certain belts?

It is only a 10-month old company and sales started three months back so right now we are present only in Ahmedabad. We started with small areas in Ahmedabad and then moved over to complete city, we wanted to check replicability of the model and product market fit before going for scale. Now that we have good traction in one city with strong number of Active users we are planning to go Pan-India in phased manner. Whether our doctors come back for repeat engagement was an important parameter for us so we wanted to measure this parameter before going for scale.

What are the expansion plans for Kivi Health?

We are going to take city by city approach for doctors. Create a small sales team in a city and let them go pitch and convert doctors. We would be starting in four metros and four other cities in next 1 year. After 6-8 months after having attained sizable traction of doctors >1000, we would expand the team and put focus on patient side as well. Why we feel this is a right approach is because 1) Customer will be ready to put medical information online and 2) Every doctor creates awareness about our platform to 10 new patients every day.

What do you think about the growth opportunities in the Indian healthcare sector? Could you tell us which segments you expect to grow the most and why?

I think Indian Healthcare is a pretty blue ocean. People still prefer asking their friends and relatives to know the best doctor and there is no stable platform to get medicine delivered at home quickly and safely. From Clinical Management systems for doctors and hospitals to Genome mapping everything is an opportunity. Healthcare is a focus of the present government and many big companies are also looking at healthcare services and delivery now. Ordering medicine and health packages online is soon going to become a commodity as there is little scope of differentiation there. MHealth or Health on mobile is also becoming very important with all new startups creating apps for doctor social network and patient-doctor engagement. I personally feel use of vital signs and DNA understanding in diagnosis and treatment is going to grow a lot. I also feel that soon lab test reports will be standardized and there will be little need of interpreting results as machines will communicate to systems which can show them in easy to understand form for humans. Healthcare is an interesting space right now and is going to be focus of many entrepreneurs and big companies for coming time so excited about the journey.

Wearable tech is becoming a part of healthcare services in most developed markets. Do you think the trend will catch on in India?

I think it is in process of becoming a trend. Early adopters such as fitness freaks and pioneer hospitals have already taken to wearable tech to track parameters better for patients. As there is an increase in lifestyle diseases, more and more importance in healthcare is being given to our lifestyle and that increases the importance of wearable tech. Watches and wrist trackers are going to be flag bearer for some time but trackers for foot, ankle are becoming famous too. I think day isn’t far when our shoes, tshirts wil help us track our parameters.

How has your journey been so far as an entrepreneur?

It has been good but tough. In less than 1 year we have won two competitions among 132 and 440 startups respectively and raised small amounts of pre-seed funding twice. I love the concept of being the master problem solver and getting chance to work on very important problem. Custom centricity , attention to detail and team building are very important details that entrepreneurship enhances . It has made me a master pitcher, you not only pitch to investors but you also pitch it to customers and your prospective employees. There are few problems with it such as it teaches you a lot but your whole life is taken up by your startup. When I am not working, I am thinking about it. It’s an emotional journey to as there are highs and lows and an entrepreneur is a very lonely journey other people will not be able to appreciate what you are feeling. It is like being in love with somebody full of fights and making up which kind of takes a toll on you emotionally.  

What made you go for the entrepreneur route rather than a corporate position?

Well in hindsight if I look back it was not completely thought through. While pursuing MBA from Indian School of Business, I knew that entrepreneurship is what I wanted to do, I had few ideas in mind – KiviHealth was one of them. I discussed this with my Doctor friend and realized that this is a genuine problem in India. He and I decided to take the plunge but I think we took the plunge early (although entrepreneurship is a lot by heart and if you think too much about it you’ll never be able to go for it). I did not understand the customer well neither doctors nor patients and that reflected in the early struggle our startup had to go through. Understanding your customer and deep domain knowledge is must for creating value for end customer.

Any advice for wannabe entrepreneurs?

Don’t be an entrepreneur for the sake of it. You should start a startup if you truly believe you can generate value for the customer and society. If you are interested by an idea, you spend time working on it when you have time from your day job/study, when you think about that idea during your leisure time than you should go and become an entrepreneur. Money in entrepreneurship is overstated only very very few <.05% make it very rich in life with entrepreneurship, so do it if you believe in the idea you have. There are other parameters such as team, execution involved in creating a successful startup but I think you will learn and work on all these parameters if your passion for the problem remain. I think entrepreneurship = Hustle + Persistence.

Privy Specials - How One Company Is Trying To Change Education In India!

Recently, we at Privy Data, India, had the opportunity to speak to Mr. Lovleen Bhatia - the Founder CEO of one of the fastest growing tech firms in India - Edureka. This Bangalore based company is trying to change the education landscape in India by offering online courses in a wide array of subjects with enriching content and great support. 

Edureka

Edureka is an online education start-up. In the education space, traditionally we have had mainly offline centers – offline coaching and others. However, now the world is moving online and there are two main models which are disrupting the online education space.

The first one is the unassisted model – users read through blogs, go through videos and learn on your own. But the problem with this model is that a large number of users will still prefer certain assistance in the learning process.

Edureka is a part of this assisted learning model. It is essentially an online assisted learning platform. In the longer run we aim to be an online assisted university. Any skill you want to master – get professional and proven help on it!

Currently Edureka is largely focused on the technology and business related courses. However various plans are in the offing to diversify and extend the number of courses being offered. 

Generally, students are afraid that taking online courses may not be useful as certain employers may not rate them at par with classroom courses taken at B-Schools! Here is what Mr. Bhatia had to say to allay their concern - 

The world is changing now! Today it is not only about getting a certification or a degree! Now the world is much more skill driven where recruiters and employees both want skills rather than simply a degree or a certificate. Hard skills which actually helps employees perform in the job are sadly lacking! For example, if you are a digital marketer, it doesn’t really matter if you are an MBA from a premier institute - if you do not have the skills to successfully perform your job.

Nowadays, a lot of recruiters too are moving to a skill based hiring model rather than basing the recruiting decision solely on a degree or a certification. Increasingly we are seeing that a lot of our students have been very successful in securing their dream jobs with top employers. 80% of our students go onto the job roles before they participated in the Edureka platform.

With annual turnover crossing Rs. 30 crores and adding more than a thousand students a month, it has already been an incredible journey for Mr. Bhatia and his team at Edureka! But it has not been a smooth sailing for them all through!

When we started this journey it was more of whether we can really make an impact. What we saw was that the education was a problem which no one was able to solve – it has been a long drawn problem with very few high quality institutions where you can go and attain an applicable skill set – and that is also limited by the number of seats. The questions which still remained were – Are the skills really practical and applicable to real-world working scenarios? Also, how many of us can really afford to go to a top premier institution?

So, what we are trying to do is to try and provide the best quality education at affordable prices at a mass scale. When we started, it was tough without a doubt! People used to ask us – “What are you selling? Are you selling a degree or a certificate?” Also we could not really guaranty a job! What we were promising was skills – real world hard skills which our user could use to land a good job!

However over a period of time, people realized the value as more and more of the users started having success with it. Now we are the largest online education company in India! The fact is that thousands of people from all over India are learning with us every month. The best measure of our success will be the high number of returning users which we have been able to generate. These users have had success using the skills which we have been able to impart to them and they have started believing in the value we can provide.

It was definitely a tough journey! We stood for only high quality skills without promising either a degree or a job! But people have realized that it is the skill which matters the most compared to a degree. That has been our biggest success! Even today, we are trying to reach out to more people who are looking to upgrade their skill set and getting ready for a new age career!

Lovleen Bhatia

Generally Indians in cozy and comfortable corporate positions are content to stay in those positions and do not seek out something outside. At least that's how it was! However things are changing with new opportunities and challenges. 

The general perception today, is that founding a start-up is all about glamour. Let me tell you, it is not! It is probably the worst thing you could do to your work life balance!

Both Kapil (Kapil Tyagi - Co-founder - Edureka) and I are from IIT’s! But there also there was always the thought that this can be done in a better manner! We did start with a grand vision! We wanted to see if we can make an impact. As the journey progressed, there were obviously multiple challenges in the path; but the fact that we were actually able to stick to our vision, and provide the value that people were looking for has honestly made everything worth it! There has been a lot of work – a lot of sweat and blood which has brought us to where we are today which people don’t see! But when we see a post on our board or in the social media from one of our users is all praise – that’s when everything is worth it!

The online education model in India is still developing - specially compared to the mature markets in UK and USA. 

The online market in India is catching up. We got our first success in the overseas markets as people were more aware of the benefits of online learning. In India, people had not been exposed to that; the internet infrastructure was also not conducive for the e-learning environment. However, in the recent past – in the last 6 to 12 months, there has been progress.

Obviously the basic need of the customers in all markets remain the same – they want to learn high-quality skills at an affordable cost. The Indian market is warming up to the fact that online is the way to go! We have seen the failure of the traditional education methods here – it is a proven fact. This has driven the huge growth of our Indian customers from the initial low numbers. Initially most of our customers were from markets like U.S, Australia or Singapore where e-learning has been around for a long time. However the last year has seen a huge pick up from the Indian audiences as well who I feel have realized that this is a good way to learn at affordable costs. To me, the thousands of Indian users we have been able to attract to our Edureka platform is a testimony to the fact that people are warming up to the idea of online education.

However, I still feel that there is a lot of scope in the Indian market itself which will open up hopefully in the next 2-3 years and Edureka will be ready for that!

Edureka is a for profit business venture for sure - but they are also a business with a heart!

The largest segment of Edureka’s users are working professionals looking to upgrade their skills in a specific technology or domain. But we also cater to a large number of students who cannot really afford that skill. So, what we at Edureka have done is to try and make sure that we don’t turn away deserving students by offering them scholarships – who are really interested in learning new things but unfortunately do not have access to high quality education. We plan to reach out to at least 10,000 such students in a year where we can offer them these courses at highly discounted prices or even for free –depending upon their backgrounds.

We want to make sure that we are actually able to make a social impact. We had started Edureka with the belief that education has to be a social initiative. Even though we are a private company, we want to make sure that the students who really deserve and cannot afford to, can have access to our courses and garner the necessary skills. 

On being ranked No.1 by Deloitte's Technology Fast 50 India!

It definitely feels good! These rankings and everything else takes a backseat. What has always driven us at Edureka is the customer satisfaction which we are able to provide – we are able to make a positive impact on their careers.

For our team that remains the most important and most rewarding testimonial to our work. All the awards definitely take a back seat to that. 

Finally, advice for upcoming entrepreneurs ... 

If someone really wants to become an entrepreneur, they need to understand that it is not at all glamorous despite what the media will make you believe! It’s extremely hard work with a lot of sweat and blood. If you really want to get into that job – you need to be prepared to face a lot of hardships!

But it is really rewarding at the end of the day – whether you are able to be successful or not. I believe in the age old adage that “Businesses Fail – Entrepreneurs Do Not!” You will always learn more than any high paying cushy job can teach you! My advice to anyone willing to listen out there will be not go in just for the money or glamour! It’s a lot of hard work.