Applying to various colleges seems tiresome and complex? Splashgain makes it easy. Swati Maheshwari for YourStory.in catches up with entrepreneur Samir Kamat to find out more.
Tell us about your startup Splashgain.
Splashgain Technology Solutions Pvt. Ltd. was founded in 2009 with the vision to establish itself as a prominent leader in IT products & product services in the education sector. We intend to build a virtual market place for all our innovative technology products with a focus on using latest technologies to bridge the digital divide and to bring in much needed reforms in the Indian education sector. In October 2010, in a nationwide entrepreneurship event conducted by ET Power of Ideas, ePravesh(our flagship product) was among the Top 35 “Best Business Ideas” and received Rs. 5 Lakhs cash prize from Mr. N.R. Narayana Murthy.
Why the name, Splashgain?
Swapnil, Founder, believed that Splashgain signified the momentum/ripple that could be created by a small drop of technology in the education world. We are confident that the ripples created by our platforms will have positive impact on lives of our stakeholders (including institutes, students, parents as well as corporate) positively across India and the across the globe.
Please tell us about your product offerings.
Splashgain’s flagship product is an online marketplace, ePravesh(www.epravesh.com). It is a pre-admission platform for facilitating admissions. Many reputed institutes, academic institutes as well as training and finishing schools are using it to simplify the admission procedure. Students are able to submit online application forms of multiple institutes with integrated support to make online form fee payments. It is essentially a single platform for students and parents to be able receive alerts/confirmation of short listing, merit list, counseling details on mobile and email. Institutes are finding it easy to manage entire admission process in a paperless manner with minimal investment towards subscription fee.
An integral part of our marketplace is Bookshelf (www.bookshelf.co.in). It is an online bookstore that is focused on facilitating the e-commerce of academic & reference books as well as educational CDs/DVDs for various PG streams.
Through Eklavvya (eklavvya.in), we facilitate the knowledge management and knowledge assessment needs of the institute. It is an online exam and knowledge management engine which institutes can subscribe to.
In short, we want to be present in the entire educational life-cycle of a student where he/she can submit online forms, purchase academic/reference books and prepare for the competitive exams.
How has the entrepreneurial journey been so far?
Exciting! Like every entrepreneur, we faced and are still facing various challenges.
Although India has achieved a tremendous success as an IT outsourcing hub and the industry is valued at $ 70 bn, very little has been done in the education sector. With penetration of the internet around India, usage of technology is increasing across education sector. During the launch of our platform, we faced resistance from the institutes but now we are getting great traction from them.
Did you have any previous work experience in this field? Share with us your background.
Swapnil, Founder, is a Computer Science graduate and has worked with organizations like Geometric and TCS. He later did his MBA from S P Jain. Apart from being a mechanical engineer, MS from BITS, Pilani and PG in Finance from Symbiosis, I bring in 14 years of IT experience. As a visiting faculty, I have also been associated with management schools for more than 8 years and have observed their processes and their challenges very closely.
How do you promote your organization?
SEO(Search Engine Optimization) and SEM are the strongest areas for us. As we are advocating “paperless” processes – we are less dependent on print ourselves. We leverage all the channels available in SEM and continuously see to it that we are fine tuning the SEO of our products. We actively provide technology sponsorships for various education events and also participate in exhibitions where we think we can connect with the common students, parents and working executives.
Tell us about your experiences as an entrepreneur so far. How did you raise money to startup?
It is a whole lot of pride, sense of responsibility and joy of creating something. Passing through the testing times, dealing with the anxiety and still keeping yourself and the team motivated is not an easy task. Swapnil’s brother played a significant role in making us who we are today. He saved every penny earned from his IT job in the US to keep our venture afloat until we received our first round of funding.
Even I gave up the comforts of a fat salary job. We were like 2 toddlers trying to trudge the entrepreneurial path. But with high morale and financial support from an entrepreneur wife, it was made possible. Apart from the intellectual capital and business development capital I invested, I also brought in the “network” capital. There are many who supported us and helped us scale up our operations in various ways. It was their confidence in us that kept us going in difficult times.
How much capital was required to startup? Whom did you raise your first round of funding from?
We invested around 25 to 30 lacs in the initial 2 years of the business. Most of the investment can be attributed to product development, technology innovation and setting up the company. We managed to grab around 10 clients within 6 months of the launch of ePravesh.com We managed to receive first round of funding from Rathi Strategic Ventures Pvt Ltd during April-May 2011.
Share your expansion plans with us.
First we would like to consolidate our position in domestic market then enter the international markets. We are already getting some feelers from the upcoming markets and we are discussing the possibilities of expanding there. We are open for collaborations and currently talking with like minded people to expand the horizons. We are also trying to build the network and reach out to the students and parents in rural India who are deprived of knowledge due to lack of access. In tune with our mission to be present in the education life cycle of an individual, whatever needs to be done to make it happen, we are committed to do it.