What is Shaastr and who is the team behind your venture?
Shaastr is a cloud-based test prep platform that let’s educational institutions take their content and tests online within minutes. It’s built completely responsively so that students can even give tests only on their smartphone. It has been designed to eliminate paperwork, corrections or other manpower intensive tasks with its many thoughtful feature additions and powerful analytics.
Sumit Bhagat, COO and Deepak Gupta, MD, incorporated the company in May 2015, post which Sneha Kataria joined them on the Board as the company’s CEO. The boys are IIT Bombay dual degree alumnus and started the venture with a different business in their Fourth Year at IIT itself.
The team is backed by prestigious private investors that include business tycoons and chairpersons of international finance giants. With a seed round of $100,000 the company now has a robust, scalable platform with a capacity of 30-25,000+ students in individual dashboards and a commitment of 6000+ students already, from institutions across the country.
How did you come across this idea? What was missing from the current solutions that you are seeking to fix?
The ed-tech ecosystem was littered with solutions to compete with small time coaching classes and school/college teaching methods. We, on the other hand, wanted to help upgrade the quality of education for these institutions instead of competing with them. Shaastr as a PaaS platform was born out of the same idea. We went through a lot of famous softwares and tried to build into it, as much as could, solutions to help the teacher and the administration instead of build features into the product that were likely to never be used.
How did you acquire (or are planning to acquire) your first customers and what has been the learning along the way?
We’ve acquired our first customers via pure field business development. It has worked for us. Some appreciation, well placed feedback, changes via field data and Tier I & Tier II city differences later, we’re a much more efficient platform.
We’ve learnt not to discount what the customer considers important, since that is a need-based market. We’ve also learned to not push our own thoughts into the product. It has helped us vet the product faster and get takers on board ever since its beta testing.
What are the future plans for growth?
We plan to offer a good product and be good at it for a while before we evolve. While certain feature additions will definitely be part of the next fiscal year, we first plan to strengthen our presence in the Tier II cities and actually make an impact via mass numbers.
With a sound seed investment to support the product and sales thereafter, we’re now in talks to raise a Series investment to scale operations. With multiple funds already showing interest, we’re confident of our growth plans for 2016-2017. We can be contacted on [email protected] for any discussions/collaborations or business.