How is the journey so far for Buddy4study?
- The journey has been amazing and very fulfilling. We started with an idea to support needy and meritorious students to complete education to fulfil their dreams. In India Gross enrollment ratio (GER) is approx. 24.5% that indicated that if 100 students are starting education only 24 are able to reach the graduation stage which is very less as compared to the global average.
- Every year lacs of meritorious and needy Indian students are dropping out of education due to lack of funds. Buddy4Study is on a mission to ensure that all needy and meritorious students are able to complete education and fulfil dreams. In the last 3 years, we have helped over 80,000 students in getting scholarships to complete education.
How did you have your first investor?
- Our first corporate customer was Loreal. We started understanding the challenges faced by corporate partners in launching and managing scholarships. We built a technology platform through which corporates now are able to launch and manage scholarships end to end in less than 20 minutes. Initially, we put in the seed money our self and from friends and family to build the platform. Once we got initial traction we raised money from CBA Capital through ECF (Education catalyst fund)
Do you have anything new in your entrepreneur kitchen?
- Currently, we are working on creating a transparent individual philanthropy platform and trying to make our current platform multi-lingual so that maximum number of students are able to take advantage of opportunities available.
What is your USP?
- Our USP for student side is an easy to use the platform through which students can find, match, apply and track multiple scholarship applications in one place. For corporate CSR, we provide one-stop solution from launching, outreach, managing applications to fund-disbursement and finally tracking all scholars.
How AI and Machine Learning is the way forward for the Indian Education system
- AI and Machine learning will play a very vital role in our education system for providing customized individual learning solutions. Our AI-based matching algorithm help students in matching students to right-fit opportunities so that chances of getting scholarship maximizes. Our machine learning based handwriting recognition algorithm helps in automatically feeding data from hard copies to increase scale and efficiency.
Tell us about the challenges you faced post-launch of your firm?
- Every entrepreneur faces multiple challenges and we had our fair share and still goes through the cycle. Some of the challenges we faced was convincing larger corporates to start using our solutions for helping students, hiring right team members, and building initial traction for students.
What is your expansion plan to move for the next level?
- We are currently working with corporates and help them in channelizing their CSR funds into education for helping bright and needy students. There are two areas in which we are expanding – firstly we are working on increasing the supply of scholarship funds so that more number of students can be benefitted. We are launching an individual philanthropy platform to increase the supply of scholarship in a very transparent manner. Secondly, we are also working on an employee volunteering and mentoring platform. Through the platform, employees would be able to guide and mentor students.