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Examine IQ Is Bootstrapping Its Approach To Take On Check Prep Giants


Competing in opposition to well-funded startups comparable to Testbook and Unacademy, Examine IQ offers pre-recorded courses for entrance assessments and exams

With 70Ok paying subscribers, the corporate claims a revenue margins of about 30%-40% for its programs

As per Inc42 Plus, check prep market is essentially the most funded edtech subsector between 2014 and 2019

The lengthy standing criticism for unicorn startups in India has been the dearth of profitability in these scaled-up and well-funded companies. An Inc42 Plus evaluation of a pattern set of 30 Indian unicorns, roughly 70% of the unicorns in India have damaging EBITDA which implies they’re shedding cash on a unit financial foundation. The profitability chart included just one edtech startup — BYJU’S. 

Whereas Unacademy has joined BYJU’S within the edtech unicorn listing and the likes of Toppr, Vedantu and others garnering investor curiosity and funding in current instances, the story of edtech startups in India is but to succeed in the profitability chapter. Most are splurging enormous on buying customers and constructing a powerful model recall comparable to Unacademy’s IPL sponsorship. Whereas many startups are competing for the piece of this $515 Mn check prep market in India, sustainability has all the time been a query. 

However for check prep startup Examine IQ, profitability and person acquisition usually are not incompatible. The bootstrapped firm claims to be worthwhile from day one with the vast majority of its customers becoming a member of organically.

“We do spend money on promoting our courses, but that majorly include Google AdWords and social media channels. People who come to our channel join only because of the word of mouth and I think the main reason is that we provide very well researched, consumable and crisp content.” stated Examine IQ cofounder, Dr. Gaurav Garg. 

Based in 2014 by Garg and Abhishek Jain, Examine IQ instructed Inc42 that its income has grown almost 10x up to now three fiscals. From INR 1.9 Cr in FY 2017, the corporate reported INR 13 Cr in income in FY 2020. YouTube advert revenues make about 18% of whole income in 2020, which is wholesome for a startup that started as a YouTube channel. Since then, it has seemed to diversify income by an app, which gives paid and free classes. Garg claims the corporate recorded 40Ok DAUs and about 400Ok MAUS within the first two months since launch. 

Apparently, the founders met throughout their stints at TIME, a number one teaching institute for CAT (IIM entrance exams) prep. Examine IQ immediately gives programs for a lot of authorities exams starting from UPSC, authorized exams like CLAT/AILET, Railways, SSC, IBPS PO & Clerk, Insurance coverage to defence ones like NDA/AFCAT/CDS in addition to the state PCS and clerk exams amongst others. 

Whereas the 8.46 Mn free subscribers on its YouTube channel make up the vast majority of its person base, the cell app, launched in April, has until now garnered 70Ok paying customers. In August, the corporate touched 100 Mn views on its YouTube channel and in a sea of high-spending startups, Examine IQ says its revenue margins are about 30%-40% of its whole revenue. 

When it comes to different metrics too, the corporate has wholesome numbers — common watch time per video on YouTube is round 5 and a half minutes. Provided that the common size of a course video is 10 minutes, college students are consuming greater than 50% of the video.

A few of the fashionable programs on the platform embrace present affairs, UPSC, SSC, railways and financial institution exams. The paid customers on the app are stated to have an excellent distribution throughout city and rural areas and the common age of the scholars is between 18 and 29 on the app and goes as much as 40 years on YouTube, with Examine IQ movies consumed as ‘quasi-media’.

“In this time and age when there is so much information available. No idea can be that unique. We are not doing anything so different that nobody’s done. We are just very good executionists, we have created a very well oiled machine that works in a very harmonious and synergistic manner to bring out the best results,” stated Garg.

Speaking about income sources, Examine IQ founder stated that 10% to 15% income comes from YouTube however the principle income is now the paid app. Earlier than the app launch, the foremost income for the corporate was promoting programs over USB sticks (pen drives) and SD playing cards. This offline distribution has been discontinued now as a result of it didn’t enable the corporate to supply low worth factors for its programs. Plus, there was the danger of piracy. 

For college kids, the course prices on the Examine IQ app vary from as little as INR 1.5K (NCERT topics) and go as much as INR 18Ok (UPSC preparation). The app additionally has EMI choices for the costlier programs. The content material in these programs is primarily bilingual (English and Hindi). Whereas the corporate did add a variety of free content material in Odia, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and Gujarati, the response on these programs was not excellent, in accordance with Garg. 

The rationale was that there was no method for the group to evaluate how good a vernacular language instructor is, as a result of they don’t converse that language. And since there are already established lecturers on Examine IQ, who educate in Hindi or English, there was no incentive for a scholar to modify to a different instructor simply because the content material was of their vernacular language. 

Recorded Lectures VS Stay Lessons

Thus far Examine IQ has not targeted on reside courses and prefers to supply recorded classes. Based on Garg, reside courses are extra suited to the Ok-12 phase as a result of college students are studying new issues and thus have extra doubts. Nevertheless, within the check prep phase, college students have already studied the required ideas at school and so the variety of doubts are fewer. 

The corporate claims to obtain a couple of hundred doubts every single day that are resolved by the doubt decision lecturers on e-mail or by the app. 

Picture: Cofounder of Examine IQ, Dr. Gaurav Garg

Stay courses produce other disadvantages too, says Garg, comparable to excessive velocity web, and  prolonged hours. In offline courses, a scholar is one amongst 200 college students and on-line reside courses don’t deal with this or change it in any method. There’s merely no upgradation within the on-line expertise of the scholar. So for Examine IQ, a two-hour lecture will get condensed into 30 minutes by the pre-recorded format. 

At present, the startup has 15 full time lecturers who create video content material, however there’s additionally a group of lecturers who assist in creating studying materials and questions. The total-time lecturers have fastened salaries and likewise get a proportion of the gross sales, relying on the instructor’s profile, their contribution to the course and different components.

Then there are additionally lecturers who’re making ready for related exams but additionally assist the corporate in creating content material on a contract foundation. Examine IQ’s general group power together with instructing and non-teaching employees is round 110.  

Going ahead, Examine IQ plans so as to add new examination classes to its listing of programs comparable to judiciary exams which has been just lately launched and now have plans to quickly launch streamable programs on its web site too. The corporate additionally has plans to foray within the Ok-12 area within the subsequent six months. Additional, it’s anticipated to shut FY 2021 at a income of INR 35 Cr.

So Why Launch A Cell App?

“The reason to shift to mobile was to have more customizability in course content as compared to YouTube where the possibilities are limited to what YouTube platform design allows. On our app, we are integrating artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide smart courses,” stated Garg. 

The app permits Examine IQ to incorporate options like obtain PDFs for a specific lecture, in-lecture quizzes, obtain video cuts and extra. 

One other main issue was content material piracy and unlawful sharing. Garg claims the corporate has spent a substantial time making certain the integrity of content material. It has partnered with numerous encryption corporations to dam display recorders and screenshots. “On YouTube, it is very easy to screen record. I know a lot of channels which are suffering because of this, if your user segment is from Tier 3 or rural areas where spending capacity is not that high — a lot of them will try to get the content for free.”




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