Surgeon Lieutenant Commander (Dr) Ashvini Jakhar is no stranger to exams, having cleared three of the country’s top exams himself in the last few years - the Armed Forces Medical College exam, National Defense Academy exam and the GMAT.
In 2001, when Ashvini Jakhar decided to appear for the medical entrance exams from his hometown at Bhurawas (a remote village in the Jhajjar district, Haryana), he was at a loss about how to proceed with his preparation. While advice was in abundance from expected and unexpected sources, Ashvini could only rely on ‘hearsay’ rather than real life experience for solutions. Diverse points of views about the best resources and preparation strategies pouring in from all corners left him confused. At that point, guidance from students or alumni from top medical schools (AIIMS, AFMC) and easy access to their study material and notes could have been invaluable, but unfortunately, there was no such access available to Ashvini.
Though Ashvini managed to crack the AFMC, there were a number of students across India whose stories mirrored Ashvini’s experience. For a large portion of India’s aspiring youth, clearing top competitive exams is a ticket to a successful career and a top job. However, the route to the world’s premier institutions is riddled with expensive coaching classes, confusion regarding the course material and lack of guidance.
Determined to ensure that aspiring students like him do not face similar conundrums, Ashvini launched Edu4share – a marketplace for all types of educational content and tele-mentorship programmes.
Although the need for Edu4share was triggered by Ashvini’s own tryst with competitive exams, the idea of Edu4share was an amalgamation of experiences, feedback and knowledge gained in the last nine years.
Ashvini had sowed the seeds of this idea back in 2011 by setting up a basic platform; however, he joined the venture full time in January 2015. He says the interim years were well spent building the necessary skill set that helped in executing the idea.
While his Naval Officer tenure instilled in him leadership and complex project management qualities, his MBA tenure at Indian School of Business, Mohali and his experience as a strategy consultant at McKinsey & Company, honed much needed business skills.
Edu4share is now powered by a 15-member team based out of Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Pune, Surat and Dubai.
Features of the platform
Edu4share aims to become a one-stop shop for preparatory materials and mentorship for all Tier 1 competitive exams such as CAT, GRE, GMAT, JEE, AIPMT, GATE, UPSC and many more. Instead of hopping from online platform to another, students can buy all kinds of educational content on its platform.
The platform offers books (new and second hand), coaching materials, e-learning courses, personal notes (collective tips from students who have cracked particular exams) and consultation with students and alumni who have taken such exams before and succeeded. Potential mentors are vetted thoroughly and are also rated by customers. The content on the platform undergoes quality checks by the team before it is added to Edu4share’s inventory.
With discounts on the offerings and affordable mentorship, Edu4share is making quality education accessible to students from all economic strata.
The growth story
Some of the biggest challenges faced by the founder included building a strong team; prioritising sell side over buy side to build a comprehensive offering of products; getting the first vendor on-board and getting used to the ambiguous nature of a startup. Despite the challenges, it has been a fun filled journey, says the founder.
Since 31 Jan 2015 (Edu4share’s go-to-live date), Edu4share has already seen early signs of success. Leading online content providers like Toppr, Learnpedia, Entrance India, TestFunda, Plancess and Practiceguru now sell on Edu4share. Furthermore, Edu4share has already taken it’s footprint to top campuses of the country. Within a span of three weeks, more than 200 mentors from top institutes such as IIT-Delhi, IIT-Mumbai, IIT-Madras, IIM-Ahmedabad, IIM-Bangalore, IIM-Calcutta, ISB, AIIMS, AFMC and Lady Hardinge Medical College have registered on the platform.
The Edu4share team hopes to add distance learning programmes and notes from professional tutors to their portfolio of offerings, and is currently on the lookout for distance learning providers and professional tutors who can sell their content online.
Ashvini understands the cyclic nature of entrance exams and believes that his idea will gain much more traction in the months to come. Targeting close to 40 lakh individuals writing these competitive exams every year and an INR 10,000 crore market of educational content related to these exams, Edu4share can carve out a niche for itself easily and can potentially become a valuable aid and partner for students aspiring to learn from the best universities in India and abroad.
He parts this conversation with Edu4share’s tagline: “Why prepare alone when Edu4share is here?”