Lovleen Bhatia Co-Founded Edureka along with Kapil Tyagi in 2011, both are IITians. With the current job scenario where people need to multi skill themselves (especially common in IT), they found a big gap in the training and education side but there was no proper source of training that people can easily adopt to in their leisure and also get quality education. The choices available were online tutorials, videos, blogs, offsite training centres but there is no consistency in quality. As a professional, they don’t have the time to go and find out the best source.
In those days internet connectivity was not that strong in India. They began with a hybrid model of both online and offline in Ghaziabad. They thought it made sense to reach out to an institute, align with them and talk to their students instead of reaching out to each student which would be very time consuming. Logically this idea worked for them and one institute accepted and gave them an opportunity to present their training and that went on well. However, the results were abysmal as not even one student joined the course. They found the students to resist joining a new institute and they had no confidence because they just heard one person coming and talking for a few minutes about the course. Luckily, they had contact numbers of a few students and they began talking to each one of them and meeting them to explain how this will be useful to them and that began working. They enrolled around 21 of them in seven days and that was the start of the journey.
They did not have a product and they began teaching. They also realized that they would need one and began building as they were teaching and did a base product within 2 months. The students who passed out demonstrated practical skills and this became a big hit. Now, the no. of students became 1200 in six months but with more of offline and less of online and focused only in the NCR , Delhi region. The popularity extended to other parts of India and they began getting enquiries from other remote parts of India and they realized that the business cannot scale with an offsite model and hence moved online.
Since the teaching moved to being 100% online in 2012, the students at that time were not too much convinced that they can learn everything online and there was a drop in the no. of students signing up. Because of the online teaching model with students from all over India, it did not make sense to have a feet on street sales team and hence the selling happened only on the website where they reach the students through internet or word of mouth and the students come in and chat with the counsellors on the website but conversion was bad. They analysed one reach out method after the other and began modifying each one of those and within four months of spending lots of time, they figured out and bettered their facebook and google adwords strategy to penetrate their markets and also trained their online counsellors to increase the conversion rates.
They began getting enquiries from the US because training is an important aspect for professionals out there and the trainings were expensive. They also began getting enquiries from professionals within India and they found that this is a lucrative market and did a pivot. This, Lovleen recollects is the best decision they took because they started growing very fast. Now came the time to work on the sales cycle because of so many enquries and closures and they began working on optimizing the sales funnel by putting in the right metrics and began monitoring those.
They relocated to Bangalore because the majority of the instructors were in Bangalore. Some companies began approaching them to get consistent training across all of their locations and they also got into direct B2B Selling into the Learning and Development departments . They evolve their courses by constantly researching the markets for trends, new job openings and then create courses and put the right faculty and the quality content which are accepted by the professionals
Lovleen talks about a few things that he did right in Marketing on Facebook. A few years ago, Facebook as not used right and by too many people. Even today, Facebook is flooded with Ads only. They mastered the art of putting the right creative, creating the right landing page, created analytics to analyse people behaviour and those optimizations helped them to get popular. Lovleen says that mapping those potential customers with back end analytics helped them to reach the customers at the right time. Not many tools were available that time, so they used a bit of third party tools to get the best scoring for the leads and did not do the mistake of running ads without measuring. Hence they could do efficient marketing with limited budget. The Youtube channels became a big hit and that gave them a lot of views.
Lovleen’s Advice to Startup founders – Look for the product market fit and see if your customers want what you are building. Do not build everything at get go. Create a marketing plan to have specific check points to measure ROI on each of the channels you are using and take the top few and create a measurable plan. You have to make use of the best channels that work for you.Edureka (http://www.edureka.co) has around 70 employees and has been awarded Deloitte Fastest growing company in India in 2014 – No. 1 – 27 times growth between 2013 and 2015. They were also the only Indian company in the top 10 Deloitte fastest 500 companies in asia pacific. They are Boot strapped and have not got any external funding. Their course offerings is increasing from 40 to 100 . Edureka boasts around 2 lakhs subscribers as of now growing month on month.