YourStory recently caught up with UniApply, a One-stop Solution for all your Education needs. Entrepreneur Ranjan Banerjee shares his story with us.
If someone asked you to tell them about UniApply in about three sentences, what would you say?
UniApply is a one-stop solution for all your education needs in terms of choosing the right institutes and most importantly applying to them. UniApply will serve as a technology link between the educational institutions and students. While eliminating the prevailing information arbitrage, we aim to smoothen the education processes, backed by a strong technological base.
How is UniApply different from other educational portals?
We are different as we provide a platform for applications and admissions into an institute the student wants to join rather than just information on the institute. We aim to revolutionize the admission application process by using information technology and to remove information based discrimination among students. Our services are aimed not only at the application stage, but also at the admission stage of an educational institute. Our focus is to automate and combine the areas of admission processes and thereby provide a single window for the students to apply to various institutions.
How did the idea for UniApply come about?
As we have ourselves been through the current "all pain, no gain" application process, we realized the need of automation in the area. Today, almost all the students apply to multiple academic institutions before taking admissions in any vertical. However, there is a lack of connection resulting, in a huge gap between various institutes and student/parent community. Hence, we aim to bridge the gap through our products and services by bringing all the stakeholders in education - students, parents, institutes, etc. onto a common platform.
Tell us a little bit about your background
UniApply is started by three IIT Bombay alumni in July 2010. I have completed my graduation/B.Tech from IIT Bombay. Post IIT, I worked with a management consulting firm where I got an opportunity to work with the Fortune 500 companies in projects related to market entry, expansion, go-to-market strategies, offshoring advisory etc. I have always been passionate about entrepreneurship and have been part of the Entrepreneurship Cell at IIT Bombay. There I met my other two co-founders, Kamlesh Laddahd and Akshay Ukey. Kamlesh and Akshay, both have completed their post graduation in Computer Science from IIT Bombay. Kamlesh was senior consultant at webMethods(now Software AG) in technical consulting division. He traveled round the globe during his tenure at Software AG and worked very closely with business analysts and functional analysts of MNCs and has a great understanding of industry processes. Akshay was software engineer at America Online (AOL) and worked on key AOL properties like AOL Portal, AOL Autos, AOL Real Estate, etc. He has contributed to several open source projects and features of the Apache SOLR and has a publication in IEEE journal.Our highly motivated team with its indelible technological background is determined to create a benchmark in the whole education process.
Let us know about the tie-ups that you have(if any). Is there acceptance for your concept? Can you give us some incidents to illustrate the same?
Our concept is being widely accepted. However, every new venture does have initial ignition issues, but undoubtedly we have seen arms open welcome to the concept.
The domain of UniApply is yet unexplored, as very few startups are offering similar services. There is certainly a huge demand from the institute side for automation of the pre-admission process and helping them enhance their reach in the student community.
Where do you see education portals and UniApply five years from now?
Education industry is realizing a huge growth and there is significant increase in the number of institutes and students every year. So, the sector has a promising growth going forward. Moreover, with the entire world getting tech-savvy and internet friendly, UniApply and all other education portals would achieve greater heights. Especially with regards to UniApply we intend to transform the application procedure and we are sure we would.
What is UniApply's revenue model?
The idea of the revenue model is based on the fact that we neither wish to burden the student/parent nor the institute. We charge the institute based on the number of applications provided by us which is nothing but a small cut out of the application cost.
As an entrepreneur, what are your joys? What are the challenges?
There is always a joy of creating something new. Every day brings a new challenge, together with an opportunity to learn, create and innovate. Moreover, driving a business in itself is pretty exciting as you can mould the pre-existing concepts into an advanced level ideas and figure out the best possible ways to enhance your business. However, since we are in start-up phase, we face challenges like recruiting the right person, funding etc.
How big is the UniApply team? Tell us a little bit about your team. Are you looking at hiring?
Currently UniApply team size is 12 and we have been able to attract people from top colleges to associate with us. We are expecting to increase the strength very soon and are looking for motivated and start-up enthusiast individuals both on business development and technology side.
Tell us about your expansion plans.
We are looking for expanding horizontally and aim to broaden our reach both in terms of institutes as well as number of students. Apart from this, we are also looking forward at launching few more products/services targeted at helping students in their exam preparation.
YourStory will keep you posted about how UniApply scales, while you check out http://www.uniapply.in/ for further details. Also, share your thoughts on this story with us. You can write to us at email@example.com