Platform for Simplifying University Admissions | EdTech Startup Idea

This EdTech Startup Idea from the 1001 Startup Ideas collection of YoStartups is to develop an application or platform Platform for Simplifying University Admissions. The startup idea is to establish a platform where aspiring students who wish to take admission in top universities and colleges can come and connect with the current students and alumni of such schools and get advice on how to be admitted. This will be a peer-to-peer platform falling under the Ed-tech industry.  The idea is to create the ‘Airbnb of admissions consulting business’.

Market Definition | Platform for Simplifying University Admissions

It has been estimated that nearly 16 million students seek admission consultancy across the world. Estimates suggest that nearly 300,000 students go abroad to study from India. There were about 103,000 Indian students in the US in the academic year 2013-14. This year, the Delhi University in India has received 285,000 applications for the 54,000 seats in the undergraduate courses.

Even for the top league colleges, the story is enticing, every year 250,000 students apply for Ivy League college admissions; out of these about 22,000 students manage to get admitted into these colleges. Internet research suggests that over 100,000 students graduate from only MBA courses in the USA alone. According to Education Industry Network, the Ed-tech market totaled $8.38 billion in the 2012-13 academic year.

Competitor Analysis | Platform for Simplifying University Admissions

The Independent Educational Consultants Association estimates that in the United States alone, there are only about 2,000 educational consultants, 500 of who belong to its organization. The Educational Consultants on an average charge about $140 an hour, starting from a minimum of $75 to a high $300 per hour. There are not many established players in this segment at this stage, though the segment is seeing players setting shop to capitalize on the vast opportunity.

Pain Point & Target Audience | Platform for Simplifying University Admissions

The targeted customer market for this business is the “any student seeking admission in a top rated college”. Students right now have no choice but to visit admission consultants who charge a huge sum. The consultants typically work alone or have a small team, which does the work for students, and at times, the team members lack alumni or campus relations thereby disbursing second-hand information.

Value Proposition | Platform for Simplifying University Admissions

The platform gives the students direct access to the most relevant person who is a current student or alumni of the University, where the prospective students are seeking admission. Access to first-hand information from the horses mouth will drive the success rate for students at a fraction of the cost they would have paid to the admission consultants.

Business Model | Platform for Simplifying University Admissions

The idea is to create the ‘Airbnb of the business consulting business’.

The model should be that the prospective students, current students, and alumni should register directly on the website. The platform should verify the credentials of the current students and the alumni. The prospective students should be directly able to converse with the current students and alumni through the website and the app. The website/app should have chat/audio/video conference integrated for seamlessly connecting the students. The prospective students should be able to rate the current students and alumni and vice-versa. The current student should pay the directly to the current students/alumni, and the website/app can charge a fixed commission for establishing such contact.

The current students stand to earn extra dollars by leveraging on their admission experience, and the alumni would join for the love of mentoring the younger students.

Way to market | Platform for Simplifying University Admissions

The first step would be to create a network of current students and alumni at the top colleges.  As a first step, the website should only focus on postgraduate admissions. The next step would be to market the website at undergrad colleges by organizing seminars and educating them about the platform, creating brand recall whenever they choose to seek admission.

Milestones | Platform for Simplifying University Admissions

You would need to map successful alumni from the top colleges and get them on board as advisors; after that using their persona you will be able to attract others to join the platform. An email to the alumni from a very renowned senior can do the trick.

Interesting Read: Co Working Platforms On A Growth Spree

The other step would be tie up with foreign universities who are organizing admission camps, an endorsement from even one of them would add to the credibility and make prospective students keen to use your services.

Investment Needed For Prototype | Platform for Simplifying University Admissions

For testing & building the prototype, pitch for raising 50- 75K USD from angel investors or incubators like Nasscom 10,000 startups. There should be no office rentals or salary payout; the entire budget should be apportioned for building campus connect and making the web platform.

Team Capability  | Platform for Simplifying University Admissions 

You would need to have a graduate from a top University as your co-founder as he/she would be able to help in creating the network of mentors. It will be good to get a second co-founder who has a background in handling university admissions Internationally. Lastly, you do need to have a tech co-founder on board for managing the technology.

Investors / Expert Take | Platform for Simplifying University Admissions

Last year, $1.36 billion was raised by the American Ed-Tech companies, up from $1.2 billion raised by them in 2013. In India, VC funds like Lightbox Ventures and Kalaari Capital have shown interest in Ed-tech startups in the past by investing, and this sector may attract their attention as well.

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