With over 230 million students in India, the education sector is booming in the country. According to a two-year-old report by India Ratings, the Indian education sector’s market size had been expected to touch Rs 602,410 crore ($109.84 billion) by FY 2015 due to the strong demand for quality education.
The ever-growing education sector has also created the need for proper student counseling. In April 2011, Surabhi Dewra and Love Chopra co-founded meracareerguide.com. The website aims to help the Indian youth find answers to their career-related questions.
“Our objective is to provide informed opinions to students. And we try to do so by connecting students to career counselors, and providing psychometric career tests and huge amount of information about various career options,” says Surabhi.
Aimed at young people, the website caters to students between 13 and 22 years, to youths searching for quality education. It offers career options to job seekers across 500 different career topics. “We also target individuals with special skills and qualities. Many people are not aware of the commercial viability of their skills or interests. We offer guidance to such individuals and empower them by offering the most suitable career path,” says Surabhi.
The venture claims to address basic issues in career counseling that other counseling ventures do not. “We have been able to offer effective guidance to thousands of students who have now found their best options. Users are made aware of several new industries and new trades that suit their interests. Through these, they are able to find new opportunities and develop a complete new approach towards personal skill and interests. We first give 10 free minutes of career counseling. From there, a fee of Rs 999 is charged for 45 minutes. This includes career tests to judge candidates’ skills,” says Surabhi.
Growth of sector
The education market of the country is projected to reach more than $109 billion by end of this year. The sector grew at a CAGR of 16.5% between 2005 and 2012.
The market is still expanding, and business prospects are big in the sector. Education startups are the latest trend in the sector. Innovation in K-12 segment is becoming the selling point of any new venture. Emergence of ICT (information and Communication Industry) in education is also trending, shaped by startups and investments. “As the Indian education sector is still under-developed, there exists massive scope for development and progress. Venturing into this domain results a win-win situation for entrepreneurs as well as end users,” says Surabhi.
The increasing traffic indicates the growing reach of the venture. Meracareerguide.com has been growing with an annual growth rate of 300%.
Investment & funding
The sector seems to be attracting a lot of investment. The company was funded with initial investments from three investors: Ronnie Screwvala, founder of UTV Group, Vishal Gondal, founder and CEO of Indiagames and Rajesh Tekriwal, a seasoned professional with more than 20 years of experience in high-ended industry areas.
“We are seeing investors’ interest in our venture. We are also raising our Series A funding. We already have investors for it,” said Surabhi.
Lack of connectivity is the primary challenge in the sector. Another great challenge is the attitude towards adoption of new methodology and traits. “We are addressing the issues via our website. Digitization, innovation and extensive use of technology can overcome this challenge,” says Surabhi.
“MeraCareerGuide.com is working in a complete new category. There are individual career counselors in the market. There are many internet businesses in the education sector, but each one of them works in a different category and offers a different product. There is a huge need for personalized mentorship and guidance in the sector; and we are working on that,” said Surabhi.