[Startup Bharat] This Haryana-based edtech platform wants to make test prep for competitive exams affordable
Murari Singh, Ajay Kumar, Sachin Sardana, and Sanjay Singh have always empathised with students from middle-class families when they have to study hard for competitive exams to get government jobs.
While several institutes help students prepare for central-level exams, the issue lies with the students preparing for state-level competitive exams like HTET, REET, RPSC, Police, Patwari, Gram Sachiv exams etc. The institutes that provide coaching for such exams are usually very expensive.
Also, such institutes are mostly located in urban areas, which forces young students to shift to urban cities, adding to their high living costs and making their studies unaffordable. It was something Murari and Sanjay had personally experienced.
That is when the four friends decided to launch Dhurina, a platform where students can get quality education at affordable prices.
The startup was founded in June 2019 in Fatehabad, Haryana by four friends. It is a mobile application and an e-learning platform that helps students prepare for various competitive exams.
What does it do?
"We provide live and recorded video lectures, mock test papers, notes, premium tests etc, to our students for the preparation of various state-level competitive exams at very nominal prices. Our main focus is on the potential students living in rural areas and Tier-III, IV cities who cannot afford expensive education at urban coaching institutes. We provide them quality education at very nominal prices,” Sachin tells YourStory.
To do this, the team partnered with teachers who offered quality education. Dhurina started by providing courses for the preparation of Haryana’s state-level exams. It now covers Rajasthan, UP, and Bihar as well.
Prior to teaming up with Murari and Sanjay, Sachin was working in an IT firm, and Ajay had experience in banking. The biggest challenge the team faced was setting up the process and convincing people of the online platform. But the team was able to convince people with the help of their experience and expertise.
Currently, Dhurina is a team of 70+ members comprising developers, business analyst operators, customer-support executives, etc, along with 50+ expert teachers. They also have a 24X7 customer support and technical team.
Students can download the app on their phones, purchase a course of their choice, and pay using any online payment method. The course includes video lectures, live lectures, PDF notes, and e-books.
Market and competition
Today, only half of the 70-80 million government job aspirants can enjoy the benefits of online learning, according to IBEF.
The edtech sector has been highly sought after ever since the pandemic forced people indoors and shut physical institutions. According to YourStory Research, there have been two to three deals per week (eight to nine per month), and more than 70 deals were finalised between March 2020 and February 2021. These deals include both funding announcements as well as mergers and acquisitions (M&As), that has picked up pace in the last two quarters.
Edtech was also India’s most-funded sector in 2020, fetching a record $2.2 billion in venture capital as per IVCA. Some of the startups that Dhurina competes with are Testbook and Unacademy.
Sachin, Co-founder Dhurina
Sachin explains that most platforms – whether online or offline – focus on preparing students for central-level competitive exams like Banking, SSC, SSC CGL, UPSC, etc. However, there are only a handful of coaching institutes catering to students preparing for state-level competitive exams like Police, Patwari, Gram Sachiv, etc.
“We have lakhs of students on our platform who are preparing for various competitive exams with our expert teachers. Our courses range from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000,” he adds. Sachin says the average margins for a business like this is 15-18 percent.
Funding and future
The startup has raised seed funding from India Accelerator Network, Chandigarh Angels Network, and Modular Capital. “In December 2020, we crossed more than one million downloads. Our monthly video views are over 28 million,” says Sachin.
For the current year, the team is working to expand in another eight states (Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, and parts of Gujarat) and have over five million students study from its platform.
“We are also focusing on earning a revenue of Rs 12 crore+ for the FY 2021-22,” says Sachin.