When Varun Saxena and Abhishek Mukherjee witnessed a particular gap in the exam preparation industry, they decided to join hands. The duo, well-known moderators and community leaders on the famous education portal Pagalguy, were interacting with thousands of aspirants on forums where threads ran into lengthy discussions. They had first met on the forum four years ago. It was less than two years ago, in May, 2013 that @visionIIM-ACL and @abhimukh19 (their Pagalguy handles) launched Career Anna.
Varun, an MBA from NITIE Mumbai, has authored two books, one a best seller on Flipkart in the MBA-prep category. He comes in with four years of corporate experience that includes a Business Development stint at a reputed IT firm. Abhishek is an MBA from IMI Delhi and has five years of corporate experience that includes a consulting stint at a reputed MNC.
Career Anna - a platform and a marketplace
Career Anna wants to be a one-stop solution to meet aspirational and professional objectives of all stakeholders involved in a career value chain - students, mentors, institutes, publishing houses, coaches or corporates.
The Career Anna equation consists of the following five parts:
"Today a user has to go to ten different websites for the above services. Career Anna fills the gap by consolidating all the above services for all the major career domains, under one umbrella," says Varun.
"In addition to the above, our breakthrough is a 360-degree integrated experience for exam preparation and career development, coupled with high customization for all the user-specific needs," he adds. According to Varun, the portal has aspects of personal connect coupled with social collaboration.
The website crossed the mark of 1000+ articles in January this year. The marketplace which was launched in December last year has a suite of Online exam preparation courses, Professional certification courses, personality
development courses and e-books etc. Stakeholders vary from coaching institutes to professional certificate providers to publishing houses and freelance mentors who need a platform to reach out to a larger audience.
Some of Career Anna's major clients include Mindworkzz by Arun Sharma and Simplilearn for professional certifications. "Few more are in the pipeline and the listing is about to grow multifold in the next quarters," Varun chimes in. Revenue share in the marketplace model is either 80:20 or 85:15 depending on whether the client needs Career Anna's marketing services to push the product.
Revenues and growth
With more than 10,000 registered users and 3300 unique visitors daily on an average, the e-commerce portal is clocking more than 240 transactions per week and the average ticket size is Rs 450.
The startup has bagged a net margin of Rs 4.76 lacs for the current financial year. (as of December 2014)
"For the financial year April '15 to March '16 we are aiming revenues of Rs 4.28 crore," Varun tells us. To achieve this target the team is looking at raising around 1.5 million USD. A small angel investment of Rs 15 lacs has been already made.
The Career Anna team is lean; current size is five. Apart from Varun and Abhishek, there are two SMEs who work on core areas of exam preparation and in-house product management and, one Data management specialist in the team. The duo have also hired summer interns form IIM Lucknow, IIM Indore and IIM Kozhikode.
In the next few months, the team plans to enhance the website and introduce a mobile app. Career Anna intends to launch a vernacular version as well to cater to tier 2 cities.
The online test preparation and coaching classes market value stands at USD 14.87 billion, with a CAGR of 16%. The market is highly disorganized. Career Anna is attempting to organize this by bringing multiple products and services across career domains under one umbrella and create India's go-to Career Commerce platform.