Every year, millions of students appear competitive exams in India with everyone having a common aim in mind: to crack a government job.
Out of this, a vast majority of them come from villages and small towns. While career guidance and good quality education materials for competitive exams are adequately available in metropolitan cities and big towns, students in villages and small towns often find it difficult and expensive to access such opportunities making them difficult to clear exams. This is where Delhi-based edtech startup ixamBee came into being to help such students fulfill their desires.
Founded in 2017 by two ex-bankers – Chandraprakash Joshi and Arunima Sinha – and Sandeep Singh, an entrepreneur, ixamBee offers learning material and free mock tests specially designed for students living in rural and semi-urban areas of the country. It uses text, audio, and video formats to create unlimited and free mock test attempts for various competitive exams. At present, the company has learning courses for more than 10 exams and mock tests for more than 50 exams.
Speaking about the company, Chandraprakash, CEO and Co-founder of ixamBee, said that no platform offers free mock test and that when he started ixamBee, most existing players were offering only practice and mock tests.
“We started ixamBee to provide complete learning solutions to students. We focus on learning as against only tests. We are the only platform in the test prep market that does not sell any mock tests but gets subscribers for complete learning solutions.”
Chandraprakash, who quit his banking career of 15 years to start the online education platform, added saying,
“We provide crisp and quality content that matches specific requirements of the exams. Our learning solutions are video-based lessons, and include live classes for doubt clarification. A large number of practice questions help improve the learning outcome and measure the progress.”
The company is said to be currently creating material in a mix of Hindi and English as the exams are mainly in these two languages.
But do you know how ixamBee came into being?
As per reports, the idea of online education came to Chandraprakash during his frequent travel to villages in Odisha in 2015 during while working as Vice President and Regional Financial Inclusion Leader at YES Bank, who was then required to travel to small towns and villages in north and eastern regions of India for Self-Help Group (SHG) meetings. In words of Chandraprakash:
“In one such meeting, I learned that people in villages were using microfinance loans to order branded products online, which were then delivered by India Post. I was amazed to see that they had access to brands online, but did not have access to quality education despite the fact that they were willing to pay.”
Taking the opportunity, Chandraprakash discussed his business idea with few friends. The discussions led to a meeting with his now co-founder Arunima Sinha, who was running a coaching institute in Dehradun for competitive exams after quitting her job with SIDBI and was looking to expand her coaching business. There, both decided to work together and launch ixamBee. When they were looking out for a technical partner, they met Sandeep Singh, who was an entrepreneur himself and founded Babyhugz.com, an ecommerce platform for baby products, which didn’t work out.
In words of Chandraprakash on the needs of such platform and how ixamBee finally came into being:
“Having done my schooling from a rural area and given competitive exams, I could empathize with the plight of rural students who did not have access to quality education and career guidance.”
“We realized that we three bring complimentary skills – Arunima is a passionate teacher, Sandeep a tech wiz, and I offer business development and senior leadership work experience. We met in September 2016 and incorporated ixamBee in December 2016. The website was launched in April 2017 with a seed capital of Rs.80 lakh.”
Meanwhile, ixamBee boasts of 800,000 registered users, who have attempted more than 300 million practice questions on its platform. The company has claimed that its site has 1,500 paid users and about 0.5 million users visit its website monthly. It is reported that the bootstrapped company has plans to keep investing the profits into the business to launch more courses, a mobile app, and add more languages on the platform and has aims to reach five million students and annual revenue of over Rs.10 crore by 2021.