This startup helps Tier II, III colleges shed old-school ways, enables a digital ecosystem on campus
Hyderabad-based StuMagz provides a digital Platform-as-a-Service to colleges. It has a strong focus on colleges in Tier II and III cities.
At a glance
Founders: Sri Charan Lakkaraju and Frederick Devrampati
Year it was founded: 2015
Where it is based: Hyderabad
Problem it solves: Provides digital campus ecosystem for colleges
Funding raised: Undisclosed angel investment
After graduating from a Tier-II college, Sri Charan Lakkaraju (29) realised that there are a lot of students who go undiscovered. Blame it on the accessibility through right technology, lack of visibility among colleges or the sheer number of students out there. To streamline this and bring more visibility among the students he, along with friend Frederick Devrampati (25), started StuMagz.
StuMagz is a startup that provides digital campus ecosystem in the form of a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solution.
It enables colleges to become digital by subscribing to its services. It also has an application for both Android and iOS users.
Sri Charan says, “As we were stepping into Digital Age, 50 percent of demography is in colleges and they are not well connected. My co-founder was running a print magazine for youth; I thought why can't we build a more effective digital communication and collaboration platform. That helped us to reach where we are today.”
StuMagz deploys the solution once it partners with a college. The features include digital magazine, digital classrooms, digital information system, placements digital communication, alumni engagement, payments, among other things.
Adding, he says, “The value proposition for a college is not only becoming a member in digital campus ecosystem, but getting due visibility for their students for opportunities and their campus events.”
What StuMagz does
Digital Classroom is a learning and management system integrated within the college to send assignments, materials, tests besides managing attendance, timetable, notices and results. The college can collect various payments like bus fee, admission fee etc., using digital payments.
Sri Charan says, “There is an add-on feature called College Discover where, let’s say, there is an event happening in one college and once it is posted on the platform, the other partnered colleges can discover it. Additionally, there are also opportunities where we on behalf of companies post various internship/work opportunities and connect them to the right candidates by matching the skillsets.”
StuMagz was clear about its target audience from the beginning. “Our aim is to not work with IIMs or IITs, but with Tier II and III colleges whose only show for digital presence is a website. The students are not getting discovered because they are not in the digital front.”
Prior to starting StuMagz, Sri Charan, who is an electrical engineer, worked with Infosys. Frederick ran a brand agency previously and now takes care of branding and advertising for StuMagz.
Its revenue model is three-dimensional with college subscription revenues, event revenues and hiring revenues. For companies, if a brand wants an outreach among students, StuMagz helps in content creation and connections.
In the last 18 months, it claims to have clocked revenues of Rs 48 lakh with over 300 colleges being free subscribers and over 10 colleges using the premium paid version. The products claims to have reached over 1.5 lakh students. Its clientele is currently across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
It has been funded by angel Investors from the US, Venkateshwaran Subramanian and Sudhakar Pennam from Solunus Tech.
Talking about the challenges faced, Sri Charan says, “Most of the times people did not understand as it was a new category that was being created. In the education sector unless it is a mandate, there is no sense of urgency in the client to adopt a new practice in which they are not pros. However, slowly people have started understanding the whole process.”
Besides, in the education sector there are a lot of content players. “But, we felt more than content, we need to have a delivery channel first. Because, we can collaborate with any content players and the content can be delivered to all the colleges where we are partners. That is the value proposition we have created.”
According to an IBEF report, approximately 28.1 percent of India’s population is in the age group of zero to 14 years, as of 2015. Hence, the education sector in India provides a great growth opportunity.
In 2015, 34.2 million students enrolled in approximately 48,116 colleges and institutions for pursuing higher education and India’s higher education segment is the largest in the world. There are also startups like Collpoll that are standalone communication and collaborations platform for colleges.
Talking about what sets them apart, Sri Charan says, “It is the most comprehensive digital campus model catering to requirements of different stakeholders in a college campus. Our focus is on student and college community, which is going to be in the future as well.”
For the future it plans to scale pan India and reach one million students in the next one year.