Test preparation is a huge market in India and this has been proved by the number of startups vying for a share of the pie. The sector is dominated by coaching classes and the technology startups step in as partners which sell to these coaching institutes or students directly. MockBank is one such effort by Konark Singhal who had previously started SourceWeb.
Konark is an IIM Bangalore alumnus who went on to work with Bain and Company for close to three years before taking a plunge into the startup world. “I have been in the startup space for a good number of years, first with MapMyIndia and then with SourceWeb,” says Konark. His first startup, SourceWeb, slowly morphed into being a pure play services company and hence he decided to move on to do something more exciting.
Konark tells us that there are close to 15 million students in India who prepare for competitive exams (IIT JEE, CAT, Banking, etc), and more than 80% of them are outside of the top 10 metros. The claim about 80% of them being outside the top 10 metros may be a bit of a stretch but if one considers a subsection like the banking exams (IBPS PO, IBPS Clerks, etc.), it perhaps could be true.
Konark decided to start up in this domain because of two main reasons: a large number of students take these exams, and the fact that the segment is rather underserved. “When one talks about test prep, it is usually CAT and IIT JEE. We want to be known for those as well but we found it more sensible to start out in a less crowded space,” says Konark.
MockBank has a bank of mock tests that the student can buy (yes, there areno freemiums). The company initially started out with a small set of mock tests and then grew to seven tests per exam because of the demand. A seven mock test series is in the range of INR 1500 and a four mock test one is in the range of INR 400. “Students have responded very well to the quality of these tests and we’ve had numerous requests to give out more test papers but we are constrained by resources at the moment,” says Konark. MockBank has more than 600 paid users with an average ticket size of INR 2,000.
There have been three main distribution channels for MockBank:
– The online channel: Organic search and social media account for more than 50% of the traffic. Then there are also paid leads (ads) that convert.
– Offline test prep institutes (B2B2C): MockBank has got proof of concept with two mom and pop coaching classes.
– Offline distribution: MockBank has giving out scratch cards at book shops via which students get a discount when they come on the site.
A team of four based out of New Delhi, MockBank produces its own content and this has probably been the key reason for its high standards. Konark is aware that the online product needs a facelift for which they’re looking to raise funds. The company is self sustained at the moment and sells enough tests to keep the company ticking.
There are several other upcoming players like TestBazaar, TestBook, Examify, 100marks, etc and investors have also shown interest in the area by backing many players. The coming months will see consolidation in the space and a clear picture will emerge regarding what works in the test prep space in India.