EdTech domain has been in news for the last 2 years with big-ticket M&As happening all around. It is an exciting space and some big players are betting a lot of money on it.
We sat down with Hirdesh Madan, Co-Founder Hitbullseye, to get his take on the growing market and how small players can withstand the onslaught of Industry Giants and continue to make an impact.
What’s your expectation for Online Test Prep post-Covid-19?
Well, let me begin this by suggesting that the COVID-19 situation is really disheartening because of the loss of life and the continued disruption seen in our everyday lives. It is unprecedented and unfortunate. Having said that, the virus has given a boost to the online test prep market and sales have surged across the board.
Now, this may seem like a short-term impact but what I believe will happen is that the whole online test prep market will get a massive boost because of the recent developments. Students as young as kindergarten and their parents have now got exposure to online education. This means that the initial effort of educating the students and parents is now out of the window. Secondly, the higher awareness levels would result in a meaningful shift of students to online prep in the long run.
Tell us something about Hitbullseye,
Hitbullseye is the result of years of dedication and commitment from our academic and product team. We have built a world-class learning ecosystem with an exciting and engaging delivery model to help students prepare for multiple entrance exams such as MBA, Law, 5 Year MBA from IIMs, BBA, Campus Placements, and Govt. Jobs. We are unlike any startup in the sense that our sole focus has been on the quality of content.
Which all Entrance Exams do you cover?
We have a gamut of Online Courses spanning several domains. We are an established brand in CAT/MBA preparation with many of our students performing exceptionally well year on year. We are proud to be home to 100%ilers and students who have cracked the ivy-league colleges. We are also providing training for Graduate level entrance exams in Law & Management domain such as CLAT, AILET, Symbiosis Law, IPM – IIM Indore & Rohtak, HSEE-IIT Madras, DUJAT, NPAT, etc.
We have taken all the expertise of niche entrance exams and made a strong entry into PO, SSC, and Govt Job exam domain as well. At the end of the day, the quality of academic content and the brilliance of faculty is visible in all our success stories. So, we are ever ready to explore and experiment with new domains.
In fact, we launched our Campus Placement Training Module last year only, but we are already seeing a lot of traction in it. This program is for all Graduate level colleges and even MBA colleges, to provide much-needed finesse in English Communication, Soft Skills, Personality Development, and Aptitude Test preparation. Here again, our high-end program is being ably supported by industry experts for optimizing the results.
It is a competitive and price-sensitive market? How do you position yourself?
It is a difficult market for sure. But our experience suggests that people need convincing. An amount of Rs. 15-30,000 is nothing when compared to the broader objective of these competitive exams. So we encourage students and parents to focus on the quality, not the price. I look at it from this perspective; I may buy a poor quality tyre to save money. But if I am running on a Highway and the tire rips apart, I am putting my life in danger for a few bucks. Deciding entrance test prep basis coaching fees is nothing short of that. Tell me, would anybody say no to IIMA if it decides to increase fees?
So we are very clear. Our focus will always be on quality at a little premium, to ensure our students get the best prep solution.
Is it true that Coaching Institutes find it really difficult to retain Trainers and build quality Content?
We pride ourselves to be the best in Industry when it comes to Academic Content and Faculty. Some of our most accomplished trainers have been with us for more than 2 decades. They are sought after by students for their keen understanding of the entrance exams not just from an academic perspective but an overall competitive environment. So they know how to train students to excel in exams; not just rote learning.
Secondly, our academic content is the result of years of preparation. We have more than 10,000+ Articles and 1500+ videos on our website and YouTube channel. This is in addition to a glut of other learning tools such as eBooks, Assignments, and carefully scripted Practice Tests.
What are your ambitions?
We are building a brand par excellence. On one hand, we are focussing on aggressive growth by capturing market share without aggressive spending. On the other, we are also an organization driven by the need to contribute to the social fabric of our society. So we have intentionally kept some resources Free on our website to enable students from weaker sections to benefit from our expertise. These are all quality academic resources and we can easily use them to further increase revenue. But our vision is to be an inclusive organization.
We are continuously reinventing ourselves to meet the growing needs of students. Our objective is pretty simple; to be the first on every student’s mind when it comes to entrance test prep.
Do you plan to raise equity?
No, we do not need an infusion of capital at this stage. I understand that you may be tempted to think that all start-ups need capital to grow, but ours is a unique story. We are building world-class infrastructure and hiring good talent to propel the growth of Hitbullseye. But we are doing it with a calibrated approach to not swell the expenses of the organization.
Once we achieve a critical mass, we may consider raising capital on grounds of excellence and delivery with the potential to fast-track growth. However, we are always open to discussion with strategic partners who can add value to the business from a non-financial perspective.