Noida-based Buddy4Study started out from a small apartment in 2011. Seven years later, the edtech startup has 600k registered members, operates in 20 states, and is eyeing expansion.
“Buddy4Study is a classic garage to success startup story. However, our humble beginnings started from an apartment rather than a garage. Though the platform was started in 2011, real growth and traction started from May 2015 when all the co-founders came together,” highlights Manasvi Singh, Co-founder and Co-CEO of Buddy4Study.
The platform aims to connect students with India’s scholarship ecosystem using technology. The Buddy4Study scholarship search engine is designed not only to search scholarships, but also lets students create their profiles, find scholarships that match their profile, apply for all such scholarships, and stand a chance to win.
Leveraging the power of technology, Buddy4Study intends to simply the scholarship process and hopes to become the trusted friend for students seeking scholarships in India.
“We upgrade our products to use latest technologies to remain on edge of technology,” Manasvi says.
The platform lists Indian and international scholarship programmes across all levels of education, be it school, graduation, post-graduation, or PhD.
Besides helping students in finding the right scholarship through its search engine, Buddy4Study helps corporate organisations, businesses, and institutions in launching and managing scholarships. Its B2B products include scholarship management service, student2scholar programme, student management panel, and scholar tracking system.
Currently, the platform offers two versions – free and premium. In its freemium version, students can get scholarship information, and access to best fit scholarships. The premium model which is a paid membership, provides personalised scholarships, real-time alerts, application support, and a scholarship e-booklet.
The growth story
Ashutosh Barnwal started Buddy4Study as a portal while he was still in college, listing information on 60 scholarship programmes. However, with further enhancements like forum and content sharing for school students, it evolved to what it is today.
The founders believe that the platform has been able to scale well in a few years due to its innovative product.
“Not only did we successfully create India’s largest scholarship search engine, we also paved the way for corporates to use their CSR funds more efficiently, transparently, and effectively than ever,” Manasvi highlights.
So far, Buddy4Study claims to have generated revenue of Rs 10 crore. Since inception, the platform has helped over 21,000 students, enabled scholarships of Rs 21 crore, and has over 600,000 registered members, including students, teachers and working professionals, on its portal.
“I lost my father during my school days. Buddy4Study helped me a lot. I pursued engineering and a master’s degree with scholarships. I studied aerospace engineering at NTU, Singapore. Now, I got the opportunity to do my research from the University of Florida,” says Nandhini Bharthi, Research Fellow, University of Florida.
In terms of funding, Buddy4Study raised a bridge round from marquee investors in January 2017. Last week, the platform raised its Series A funding of Rs 20 crore from CBA Capital and Challenger 88. Buddy4Study intends to use the capital to scale up and expand operations significantly.
The team behind Buddy4Study
Until 2015, the platform was run by a three-member from an apartment. In 2015, three more members joined the core team, taking the co-founder team to six. They include Manasvi Singh, Co-Founder and Co-CEO; Manjeet Singh, Co-founder and Co-CEO; Ashutosh Burnwal, Co-Founder and CSO; Mohit Bhambri, CMO and Co-Founder; Anirban Chatterjee, Co-Founder and COO; and Raj Kishor, Co-Founder and VP Technology. The company is backed by a team of 120-plus employees now.
Ashutosh Burnwal is the Co-Founder and Director of Buddy4Study. He is a Marine Engineer by qualification, and holds an MBA degree from IMT-Ghaziabad. He is also the author of India’s first guidebook on scholarship and entrance exams besides authoring numerous self-help columns for students in magazines and newspapers.
Manasvi Singh is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Buddy4Study. Prior to Budd4Study, Mansavi founded My Own Space Research Consultancy, offering advice to turn startups into profitable ventures. He was also associated with Vedanta PLC Manasvi as a key marketing professional.
Manjeet Singh is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Buddy4Study. An engineer from MERI, Kolkata, his proven expertise in software technology is the backbone of the portal. Manjeet has been a part of the startup ecosystem and a serial entrepreneur. He has successfully started, scaled and sold his previous two startups, Elucit and Pinig Tech.
Mohit Bhambri is the Co-Founder and CMO of Buddy4Study. A BITS Pilani alumni, Mohit is a serial entrepreneur catapulting start-up growth in his previous ventures.
Anirban Chatterjee is the Co-Founder and COO of Buddy4Study. Anirban has an engineering background and is a serial entrepreneur. Prior to Buddy4Study, he has co-founded ClassIQ Educational Foundation, and Tweak Skills, both based in Kolkata.
Raj Kishor Chaudhary is the Co-Founder and VP-Technology of Buddy4Study. A software engineer by qualifiaction, Raj is the man behind Buddy4Study’s DNA, its scholarship search engine.
Plans for the future
Currently, Buddy4Study is present only in the domestic market, operating in more than 20 states across India.
There are a lot of players in the scholarship listing portfolio - Careers360, Scholarship-Positions, Sakshi Education, MHRD website, ScholarshipPortal, and many others.
However, Buddy4Study claims to have created its niche by working both as a B2C and B2B partner, helping organisations as an end-to-end scholarship management partner.
“Our revenue comes as a portion of the scholarship amount disbursed by our partners in our B2B model,” Manasvi reveals.
Going ahead, Buddy4Study is targeting to reach more than 10 million students through its scholarship platform and is also looking to enter the micro-financing space to provide educational loans.