Memes are not just for laughs proves Mumbai-based Dailyvocab which harnesses them to impart vocabulary skills as well
Can one imagine surviving in today's competitive world without speaking English fluently? It is a universal requirement, and developing one’s vocabulary skills is the first step towards getting hold of it. Vocabulary learning is still a serious problem in India and it needs to be solved because it plays a crucial role in deciding one's career.
Anshul Agarwal came across multiple instances highlighting the severity of the problem. Therefore, he decided to start Dailyvocab.com in 2013 in Mumbai to help students learn vocabulary and prepare themselves for all the major competitive exams.
He developed an application called Vocab Meme which enables students to learn more than 1,000 words with the help of memes.
With this app, one can prepare for various competitive exams including Bank PO, BBA, BBS, BCA, CAT, CET, GATE, GMAT, GRE, IAS, IBPS, IELTS, IES, SAT, SSC, TOEFL and UPSC.
The website and mobile app together receive approximately 62,000 visits per month. The app has been rated 4.6/5 on Google Play store by more than 400 users. ‘Vocab Meme’ Android app launched two months ago and received around 8,000 downloads in just two months. The iOS version would be available for download by end of September 2015.
The majority of traffic comes from the Indian subcontinent followed by US, Europe and South East Asia. Within the country, significant traction comes from Delhi followed by Tier II and III cities.
Before stepping into entrepreneurship, Anshul worked with TCS and Shaadi.com. He has done his engineering in electronics and communication from Jabalpur Government Engineering College and MBA from MICA, Ahmedabad, with specialisation in Digital Communication Management.
When Anshul was in second year of his graduation, Cohezia, an innovation-led UK group agreed to invest in his idea. But he could not agree on some of their terms and decided to bootstrap with his own funds.
Dailyvocab started with the simple idea of publishing vocabulary that appears in the editorial pages of The Hindu on a daily basis. Later on, some other elements were added: memes, synonyms, antonyms, videos, English-Hindi meaning, word origin, sentences from newspapers, pronunciations and mnemonic devices.
"We create internet memes and teach vocabulary words in desi style. The Vocab Meme feature lets users submit their own vocab memes which could be later made visible to all other users. One can add words to their ‘revision list’ and ‘learned list’ word-of-the-day feature and receive one new word everyday via notification," Anshul adds.
Getting initial traction was tough
Anshul started Dailyvocab with a seed capital of just Rs 10,000, making hiring developers and designers difficult. He then switched to online forums and tutorials to learn web development, web hosting, domain management and Photoshop.
Moreover, he was pursuing his MBA at that time and pursuing both simultaneously was a challenging task.
Anshul managed to create a website and started validating by posting on various Facebook groups and MBA forums. Gradually, he saw traction.
Currently, the startup has a team of four people which includes two developers and one designer. Developers take care of the apps, both Android and iOS. The designer creates internet memes for vocabulary words, while Anshul handles the overall strategy and marketing for DailyVocab.
Grab the opportunity
The worldwide language learning market was a USD 56.3-billion industry in 2013. English language-learning products (digital and non-digital combined) generated USD 35.5 billion (or 63 per cent of the total language learning market) in 2013.
The global market for digital English language learning products reached USD 1.8 billion in 2013. The worldwide five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is 11.1 per cent and revenues will surge to USD 3.1 billion by 2018. (Source: Ambient Insight’s 2013-2018 Asia Digital English Language Learning Market).
Anshul says that competition is intense in this market. “But our unique and innovative solution to vocabulary learning is what differentiates us from other vocabulary learning apps. People love it and are also willing to pay for it despite the availability of several other free vocab apps in market."
Source of revenue
Dailyvocab currently works on ‘freemium’ version where a user can update to a premium version for a lifelong subscription of Rs.250. The secondary source of income is the advertisements on Dailyvocab.com. The startup is growing at a rate of 30-40 per cent month on month.
We are targeting around Rs 30 lakh for the next fiscal year (considering around 1,000 paid download per month at a two per cent conversion rate). In the future, I have plans to cover grammar and also foreign languages like German, Spanish and Mandarin.