Entrepreneurs Santhosh Sharma and Kushal Sharma: On building one-stop portal to facilitate sharing of resources among Indian students.
Tell us about StudyShare.
StudyShare is a one-stop website to facilitate sharing of resources among the students in India. StudyShare focuses on collecting and categorizing free resources available on the internet for all exams, courses, subjects, streams or branches so that all students can help each other by sharing and simultaneously benefit from free resources.
How did you come up with the idea? Why did you start this?
The idea of StudyShare came up when we were preparing for our entrance examination and had to search the internet a lot to get relevant study material. Moreover, the study groups in our engineering hostel reignited the fact that we can learn a lot by sharing of resources. Both these things led to the idea of StudyShare. Students usually share study resources such as e-books, PPTs, videos, etc. on communities such as Yahoo groups, Orkut communities, etc. A student looking for a particular resource needs to search for these resources among a plethora of such websites. This is a tedious and a time consuming process. We believe that students need to concentrate more on understanding the concepts instead of wasting time for searching resources. Hence, we created a website for students to share resources that are exclusive to studies which eliminates this “searching”.
Since when are you operational? What is the size of your team? Where are you based?
We are operational since 20th December, 2010. Our team size is two: Kushal Sharma and Santhosh Sharma. Both are the founders of the company. We are based in Delhi.
Tell us about your background.
Santhosh Sharma is an MBA(Management of Services), from FMS, Delhi, Batch of 2012. Previously he did M.Tech. (Computer Science), IIT Kanpur, Batch of 2009 Kushal Sharma is also an MBA(Management of Services), from FMS, Delhi, Batch of 2012 before which he did B.E. (Electronics and Communication), NSIT, Delhi, Batch of 2010
What are various services/products that you offer?
The services that we offer can be categorized into three broad categories:
Student made tutorials (2-minute tutorials)
Articles by the best in business (platform to showcase blogs related to study)
Tips, Shortcuts and Tricks
Lecture notes of top professors
Projects, Assignments, Seminars, etc of students
E-books and Videos
News related to business, colleges, etc.
Student to student transactions
Platform for students to sell/buy their class notes in PDF form
Platform for students to sell/buy used text books/study material
Students request for e-books and we search for them among thousands of websites. We give a service guarantee that we will find the link to the book within 8 hours.
Who are your competitors? Please name them.
StudyShare focuses exclusively on aggregation of resources. StudyShare faces competition in some of the offerings. Hence, sites such as pagalguy(for MBA), askiitians(for IIT), indiastudychannel give us direct competition in some features, but none as a whole.
Online communities such as Yahoo groups, Google groups, Orkut Communities, Facebook groups, etc and several hundreds of websites based on education that mainly focus on discussion and group problem solving are our indirect competitors.
What is your competitive advantage? How are you different from other players in the market?
The founders have firsthand experience of the problems faced in competitive exams such as CAT, XAT, FMS, IIT-JEE, AIEEE, BITSAT, GATE, GRE, GMAT,etc , certification exams such as SCJP, MCSE, CCNA, CFA, etc and have degrees such as B.E, M.Tech., and MBA. Hence, we have ground level experience of what students exactly need.
Both of us come from a middle class background and have experienced the problems as millions of other students in India experience when they go online looking for study material. This makes us stand apart as we know what exactly a student needs. Moreover, pursuing MBA presently from Faculty of Management Studies is a boon for us as we get invaluable feedback, support and guidance from our batchmates and teachers. To add to this, we strive for constant innovation in all domains(be it content, technical, marketing etc) and this makes us stand apart from other study websites
What is your revenue model? How do you make money?
As on date, StudyShare is and will be a completely free website. Our main focus is having a student friendly website that can help them in their study. So we don’t involve advertisement option as a revenue source (although we can command a premium in ads as we have only the students base and our alexa statistics speak for us). However, we are looking to partnership and affiliates to be our earning source.
Tell us a little bit about the market that you are trying to tap into.
Students in engineering, management, commerce, etc. colleges,
Students preparing for competitive exams like IIT-JEE, CAT, IAS, GATE, etc.,
Students and Professionals preparing for certification exams like CA, CFA, SCJP, CCNA, etc.
We propose to target students right from school to professionals working in corporate that need to learn. We vision the site to be a one stop hub for any ‘student’ to learn from resources available online for free of cost.
What is your outreach model? How did you acquire your first users?
We focus on posting targeted messages in online communities on Facebook, Orkut, Google Groups and Yahoo groups. The website is highly search engine optimized and hence we get half of our traffic through Google. We acquired our first users by using word of mouth and email marketing. This was followed by very aggressive facebook marketing campaigns and competitions.
What are your biggest challenges? How do you overcome them?
StudyShare’s biggest challenge was segmenting the students since we were catering to students across all fields. This problem came to the fore during the competition ‘StudyShare Mania’ which was targeted towards engineering and MBA students across India. Also, another problem was that discussion among peers was integral to preparation and group study, which unfortunately we did not encourage at studyshare.
To counter this growing challenge, we decided to use facebook pages. We are trying to cater to different domains by facilitating the study groups among students on the facebook pages and learn from free resources together (IIT JEE Preparation, IAS Preparation, CAT Preparation etc). Facebook is at the core of StudyShare’s functioning where we use facebook pages for discussion and StudyShare for resourceful content. This helps a student get the relevant content easily and at the same time, able to get invaluable help from discussion among peers without resulting in spamming on the website; Thus solving the twin problem of proper segmentation and non-spam resources.
Anything else that you want to tell us.
StudyShare is creating success stories by this unique model of mutual sharing of free resources and helping each other in the study. We implemented this concept of studying and sharing in ‘Project Placement’ in which we, Batch of 2012 and 2011 of FMS, Delhi along with StudyShare, contributed to help the Batch of 2011 in their placements. The results were very encouraging and scripted a lot of success stories. Post this successful stint, we took up ‘Project My Dream FMS’ to prepare FMS call getters for the GDPI. This again was a huge success in which we managed to get more than 50% success conversion of candidates that applied. Our latest projects are ‘AIEEE crash course’ and ‘IAS preparation’ and are on in full swing. We believe that if all students join hands, we can together create success stories out of each and every one of us.
If you are a student, then certainly check out http://studyshare.in