Every year lakhs of students around the country spend tonnes of money and time enrolling themselves for coaching classes to prepare for a slew of entrance exams. To tap into this growing market, Yogita Bhalla and Vishakha started SimplyLearnt in 2010 with the idea of making preparation for competitive exams fun.
With over 12 years of combined experience in the technology space, Yogita Bhalla and Vishakha decided to join forces to simplify learning. The duo took the entrepreneurial plunge in 2010 and founded SimplyLearnt, a fun interactive portal that helps students prepare for a wide array of competitive exams to practice text papers. Designed to engage students SimplyLearnt hopes to break the cycle of rot and regurgitation just like the popular Bollywood hit Three Idiots.
Bhalla says, "Students do self-study even if they go to any institution. They have self-study time, be it half an hour, one hour anything. We want to be there. We want to make that self-study time much more fun. They don't have to sit with the registers and these many questions I did today, these many questions were right, these many questions were wrong. It's a preparation methodology. We go and just talk to some students. We do demos in school. We tell them how to prepare on their own. They can do it on their own also."
The 'do it yourself' formula seems to be drawing students. With over 120,000 students on-board, SimplyLearnt boasts to 100,000 monthly visitors. This year 55,000 of their students took various engineering and medical entrance exams and 1,600 were successful.
Helping ride the success stories are products like the Practice Lounge, a multi-player level based portal with 10 full length tests priced at Rs 5,000. Telling you where you stand is the Live Leader board, which provides all India level analytics on every question attempted. Offering a helping hand is Prep Buddy, SimplyLearnt's Mascot and student counselor. With 5,000 members on the Facebook page Prep Buddy also features in various moods and clothing. What helps set SimplyLeant apart?
Bhalla says, "We assess where the student is currently. We plan a preparation plan as well as an improvement plan for him to go to the final destination. And then at every point, we have a checkpoint that whether you are there or not. How do we do that? We give the student study material in a very engaging manner, which is suited to the difficulty level that the student can understand. And then the difficulty level gradually grows and the student has to come up to the level of the exam. We have various games that we have built. Practice should be fun. It should not be black and white text as it comes in a book."
With an initial investment of Rs 20 lakh, SimplyLearnt has seen revenues of Rs 10 lakh so far and hopes to breakeven soon. Looking to make SimplyLearnt more accessible to students, the team of six is keen to tap into the growing mobile space. But breaking into a market with well entrenched players has not been easy.
Bhalla says, "One of the major challenges with simplylearnt.com was actually coming up with a real product definition. To begin with we started off with regular online testing. We had a test application where questions were shown to the user, timer was running. We saw that it was not very attractive and definitely not something that has not been done so far in the industry. Then suddenly it just struck us as my siblings use this application and we saw that we have to talk to the students. We can't do it for ourselves. We can't build in the engineers' way. We can't build it in the teachers' way. SimplyLearnt has to be built in the students' way. So that's one of the biggest challenge."
Set on a mission to reach students across India, Yogita is now gearing up to take battle to take tier-2 and tier-3 cities where coaching is a huge industry. While plans are on to launch SimplyLearnt on the Android and IOS platforms, Yogita is also looking at taking the tablet route.