Vijay Anand | The Startup Guy.

Ask Vijay: Starting an Educational Venture.

Posted on: May 2, 2008

I get a lot of mails from folks looking for answers to various things. For the consumption and benefit of the masses, I’ll post some of them here – ofcourse after protecting the identity of the person

Dear Vijay,

As a quick intro i am senior IT professional at Pune and i have been trying to find my way through the India startup scene and i am currently based in Pune still in a full-time job. While i have been trying to bootstrap my idea to be able to sustain the model and step into the startup world gradually through self funding it tends to drag and takes too much time. I have realized the only way is to be able to try and secure some external funding and step out full time with all the risks etc.

What are your thoughts on the Internet Learning space, and who are the right people to get in touch with in the VC/Angel circle who would be interested to hear me out on this 🙂 .. I have been trying to get in touch with IAN, Seedfund.in as well. I know that Proto.in is for startups who are established and running.

Appreciate your inputs, at the same time no issues if you cannot respond on this. Will catch you on the internet chat on Saturday with some other questions.

Thanks,
K.


————————————————————————————————
K,

It’s a pleasure to hear from you. There is always time for a conversation 🙂

Contrary to popular belief, Proto.in is not for “established” businesses, but teams and companies which have figured out what they want to do, have a prototype, and are ready to launch and get into the world of business. Proto.in is, in most cases a launch platform to attract the attention of people who matter most in that context.

Coming back to your point, there are a lot of skeletons of people who have touched the “learning’ space. Pricing, content, delivery models, all of which are quite complex issues to solve. Apart from Heymath, I cant think of any successful e-learning initiative that has been launched.

Now, coming back to your question, unless a team is already formed, a company is in place, and a prototype is built, and can be tried on atleast a sample market, no one is usually keen to fund – unless you know the investor personally for a long time, but that seems to be rarely the case (we wouldn’t be having this conversation otherwise). Everybody will give you the time for that first meeting, but nothing much will come out of it. Your choices get limited to either, personal money, or bank loans to start with.

Another option is to try incubation centers. They will help keep your other cash burns low, bring the risk on matters such as validating your idea, the market, hiring people etc, and you just have to manage to live with a “lower” salary, that is usually given as stipend. It’s an option to consider, especially in a complex problem as education.

If you need some suggestions on this front, I could help. I hope this answer was of some benefit.

Vijay

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5 Responses to "Ask Vijay: Starting an Educational Venture."

You are so right Vijay. Education is a very tough space indeed. But it is much easier to create a mediocre product and company and make money than trying to bring an innovative idea to the market.

I am interested in this space as well. I love to get introduced to this individual to see if we can explore it together. The only issue being the geographic seperain. Any suggestions.

Rohit: There are always a scope for mediocre companies to do something, make enough for sustanence and keep it going. But none from the investment community will fund such a thing 🙂

Abu: I have pointed your comment to him. He has already gotten his idea, product and financials worked out. But if interested he’ll get in touch.

what I mean is that it’s especially easy in Education sector – schools are already making truckloads of money – they don’t really care about new innovative products – as long as they can get their cut 🙂

I can definitely vouch for a couple of things here…

a) the power of those “first” meetings ( as it has been for us at proto.in as a platform )
b) seeing is believing for not only inviting investors,but even prospective employees,customers.
c) and hey, I could’nt resist mentioning TutorVista in the e-learning space as well 😉

Keep Clicking,
~B

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