Stufbagg.com: A one-stop portal to buy textbooks and test prep material

By Team YS|10th Nov 2011
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Stufbagg

Gone are the days when right before exams, you had to desperately scout for notes, test material or that textbook you never bought! Entrepreneurs Kunal and Samrath have created an online facilitator called Stufbagg that caters to every student’s academic needs. It is a one-stop portal where you can buy textbooks, test prep material and e-learning software.

In a conversation with Anisha Mehta from YourStory.in Kunal and Samrath share their dream and aspirations.

Kunal, how did you and Samrath meet?

We were batch mates at an engineering college inDelhi. I went on to study MS in telecommunications and management systems in US after which I worked for Deloitte Consulting as a business consultant and returned toIndialast year to pursue my interest in being an entrepreneur and met Samrath, an MBA graduate, who was associated with the financial and consulting sector. We started working on business plans in the educational space in June this year since we felt there is a need to improve the standard of education inIndia.

Why come up with a portal that sells textbooks and test prep material online?

While walking in Old Delhi, Samrath and I saw students walking past us, carrying loads of books. That is when the idea struck. We visited a few universities which did not have well-stocked libraries. On our visit to smaller cities, we noticed that institutions that helped students prepare for competitive exams did not have enough material to offer students. We also conducted a market research, which pointed out that there is a huge market for used/shared educational books inIndia. To harness this, we have introduced a process to buy back the books bought through us and providing value in the form of reward points to the end consumer. We aim to bring changes to this unorganised sector.

What kind of books do you offer for sale?

We have tied up with vendors who provide us with a wide range of books. We offer books on varied subjects, right from arts, economics, medicine, engineering, computer sciences, communication and journalism to test prep materials for IAS, IES and MBA exams. We also offer textbooks for school students under CBSE or State boards.

How much capital was required to startup? 

The initial capital required for setting up a team, working on a basic platform, doing basic market research and working out vendor relationships was close to Rs five lakhs.

How has the response to your product been?

Our first marketing activity was at the Delhi Book Fair, which was done during our pre-launch period. It was an opportunity to spot our prospective customers, communicate our value proposition and garner valuable feedback. This was followed by social media marketing and the response has been good ever since. We have good traction on both Facebook and Twitter. The average number of unique users per day since our launch in October this year has been close to 50. Though the concentration of visitors has been in northernIndia, we have got a good response from other parts of the country too.

What are the challenges you have faced as an entrepreneur in the e-commerce space?

Despite the fact that the e-commerce industry is booming and regardless of how ubiquitous it has become today, there are certain distinct challenges to be faced. Although internet penetration inIndiais quite high, people are still averse to buying online. Also, there are difficulties we face in logistical support. However, our greatest challenged was hiring the people to work with. Since startups have their own challenges, it becomes difficult to convince people to be a part of our team and contribute to our future growth.

The market is already flooded with websites selling books and educational material. How is Stufbagg any different?

We are not a mere bookstore but an online facilitator for students inIndia. We want to provide the best quality test prep materials, textbooks and books recommended by professors from IITs and IIMs. We are quite focused in terms of our value proposition. Our procurement arrangements let us pass cost benefits to students and our logistic partners have enabled us to have a country wide reach.

How big is the team?

We have a driven team of five people who work in departments like web development, database, logistics, marketing and vendor development.

How does your supply chain work?

We have tied up with our vendors for just-in-time procurement. We do not have a warehousing model as of now, but we are analysing the benefits of having one till the next academic year. The procured goods are then packaged and shipped through our logistics partners to the desired destinations.

Which delivery service and payment gateway do you use?

We have tied up with EBS. We have also tied up with a few courier services.

Do you plan to offer more products that just books online?

Right now, we are just offering hard copies of textbooks and educational material to students. But we now plan to introduce this material/information in all forms of media, i.e. downloadable text, audio and video formats. This will revolutionise the education market and will bring a huge change in tier II and III cities. Since we envisage investing into brand building and expanding our product portfolio, our capital requirement will now increase.

Go to www.stufbagg.com for more details!

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