Suruchi Wagh of NextLeap, the virtual career counselor, on their new products designed to help class XII students
YourStory recently featured NextLeap, a recommendation engine that assists students to make smarter and better career decisions by acting as a virtual career counselor to them (click here to read that story). NextLeap involves a suite of applications, which use psychometric evaluations and math models on past admission patterns to give out personalized suggestions. The venture has created quite a buzz in the startup ecosystem and to know more about the happenings at their end, Jubin Mehta from YourStory caught up with woman entrepreneur Suruchi Wagh, the brain behind NextLeap. Given below are excerpts from the interview:We reviewed you guys on YourStory sometime recently. And we understand that you’ve made considerable progress since then.
NextLeap, after catering to students looking for higher studies, has now expanded its suite of applications to help 12th standard students in India, who aspire for engineering, choose the right colleges and streams to study. This includes various new features on our platform to help a student through the complete admissions process - right from researching on colleges to choosing the most suitable college and engineering branch.
So, what does your product suite look like right now?
NextLeap is currently providing two broad sets of applications which serve students who want to do higher studies in the US and students who want to do under graduation in Indian colleges.
For the former, the University Suggestor helps students and young professionals find out which US universities they should apply to maximize their chances of admission.
For the latter, there are 2 main applications which sit on top of the recommendation engine i.e. Branch Suggestor and College Suggestor. Using the Branch Suggestor, students can find out which engineering branch suits them better based on their personality and interests.
Using the College Suggestor, students can find out the top engineering colleges in which they have chances of admissions based on their scores. By finding this in advance, students can apply smartly and increase their chances of admission.
How do you plan to go ahead with your algorithm? What is the research that goes into the whole process?The recommendation engine is very data driven and it gets better as more and more users use it. It has strong feedback loops so that users give new data back into the system and it gets updated with latest admission patterns. Apart from collecting new data points, the algorithm is being strengthened at its core to serve a global audience in the coming season.
What is your revenue model?
We have a freemium model i.e., users can get some suggestions for free. But more advanced suggestions with more advanced analysis are paid for.
Are you looking at hiring more people?
We truly believe in the philosophy that you never stop hiring good people and we are currently in the lookout for A-grade people who are passionate about what they do in various positions like Engineering, Product, User Design and Psychometrics.
NextLeap attaches a lot of importance to cultivating a product culture in the team and we have managed to build a strong product team. But the main challenge now is to continue hiring good product talent in an economy which is over burdened by services.
What are your future plans?
NextLeap’s larger vision is to be able to allow all students and young professionals to benefit from NextLeap by helping them make more informed and smarter career decisions. Currently, we cater mainly to the engineering stream audience and we are already on our way to expand to broader segments like arts, sciences, commerce etc.
We wish NextLeap all the very best and hope their efforts see fruition. To know more about this Pune-based education consulting startup, check out www.yournextleap.com. Also, do let us know what you think of this story by writing to us firstname.lastname@example.org.