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Stoodnt Invests in Machine Learning/AI and Piloting Initiatives in Middle Eastern Countries

Stoodnt.com, Palo Alto, California based leading education technology start-up that offers quality, objective and affordable career, college and study abroad guidance services and tools to student.

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Established in late 2015 by Harvard Business School Alumnus Ajay Singh and Yuri Punj, Stoodnt is a Palo Alto, California based leading education technology start-up that offers high quality, objective and affordable career guidance, college admission and study abroad services and tools to student

Stoodnt.com, Palo Alto, California based leading education technology start-up that offers quality, objective and affordable career, college and study abroad guidance services and tools to student. It helps every student irrespective of their background and geographic location with an opportunity to realize their aspiration of pursuing their dream career or dream college.

BWDisrupt interacted with the Ajay Singh and Yuri Punj, Stoodnt is a Palo Alto, California to know more about their startup and future plans. Excerpts from the interview-

BW: How was it started?

The company was started based on the pain point in the market where number of parents and students from countries such as India, Middle East, Singapore, Philippines would reach out to Ajay and Yuri to get guidance for their higher studies, jobs and careers etc.Both the founders have been fortunate to have individuals,mentors and family members who have guided them in their college aspirations and careers over last 25 years. However, they believe many young professionals and students today do not have that opportunity of getting guidance from experienced mentors, counselors and family members.The founders believe skills, education and learning are critical components of a person’s career success, but so is good guidance.Without good guidance and help, many young professionals and students are lost in the dark. They strongly believe in today’s world of connected devices, social networks and smartphones, there is not reason any student and young professional should not be able to get good guidance at affordable prices.

Stoodnt was conceptualized in late 2015, incorporated in early 2016 and launched in September 2016 with India as one of its first launch market.

BW: Tell us about the journey you had so far with the startup Stoodnt?

In mid-2016, Stoodnt team met Richa Saklani, founder of Inomi, a career guidance company that had worked with thousands of students over last 10 years on career, college and study abroad guidance. Richa and her team have developed proprietary career guidance product and have successfully worked with thousands of young students over the years, given the common vision on helping students and young professionals,  Inomi and Stoodnt team decided to join hands together at the beginning of 2017 to provide career, college and study abroad guidance to students, graduates and young employees in India.

BW: What unique key feature/services ido you provide different from your competitors?

Personalized Career, College Admission and Study Abroad Guidance through the online platform or sessions. Proprietary career aptitude tests and career assessment, guidance expert system that leverages thousands of data points and years of experience working with students and young professionals. Lastly, the experience, depth, breadth and quality of guidance counselors on the platform.

BW: What is your focus this year?

The primary focus for Stoodnt is to differentiate based on two criteria: 1) Use proprietary Intelligence and learning algorithms to provide personalized guidance on the platform for careers, college, coursework, skill development and internship/jobs etc. 2) The second area of differentiation is the quality of career and college guidance counselors on the platform. Stoodnt team vets each counselor, provides training and feedback to make sure students are getting quality advice that can make a difference to their career and college dreams.

What is your present funding status?

The company raised seed funding late 2016 from number of respected angels and C-level executives such as Rajan Anandan, MD Google India and South Asia. The company is already generating revenue and projected to hit revenues in the range of 1-2 Crore in first full year of operations.

What is your existing monetization model?

Stoodnt offers number of free platform tools such as “Ask Experts”, College Search, Roadmap etc. and it charges for additional services where a counselor is involved in personalized career, college or study abroad guidance. The affiliates, guidance counselors and Stoodnt take a set percentage of the paid services, where every service provider on the platform wins.

BW: Please reveal your recent traction details?

Since launching in late 2016, Stoodnt had helped more than 40,000 students with insights, free career and college guidance tools and by connecting them with career, college guidance counselors. Company is growing at a rate of 100% Y-o-Y. Stoodnt was recently selected as one of the Ed-tech companies in the Amazon’s AWS Edtech beta program.

BW: Share what you have in mind for the future plans?

Stoodnt is investing in developing a building a affiliate network in India, investing in further technology capabilities around machine learning/AI and piloting in new markets such as Middle East etc.

BW: What kind of marketing plans you have strategized for the upcoming months?

Stoodnt’s current customer acquisition strategy is build on providing free insights, platform tools and partnership at local level with schools, colleges, channel partners. The company spends limited budget on marketing activities.

BW: What kind of challenges did you faced at the initial stages?

Just like any startup focused on solving needs of a customer segment or market, Stoodnt team had to learn a lot of things from customer behavior and engagement with the platform.

BW: What is the market size & opportunity you have set eyes upon?

India’s two-third population is less than 35 years of age. Today more and more students, graduates and young employees are looking for guidance and help to  decide and focus on their “career of choice” by selecting “best fit” programs, colleges, developing skills, and applying for jobs that can help them build a successful career. Globally, the career and college guidance market is more than $100B of spends, growing at a rate of 10-15% each year.

 


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