Be it a 10th grade student aspiring for a seat in a top college or a graduate hoping to make it big in his professional pursuit — the feeling of apprehension over the selected path is common. One can never be entirely convinced at the beginning regardless of how many hours you spent researching or how many people you sought advice from.
Unlike a conventional career counselling portal, Delhi-based start-up Leverage Edu has devised an AI algorithm, which deals with collegiate-level admissions and enables graduates to become job-ready. Co-founder Akshay Chaturvedi came up with the idea while pursuing his MBA at the Indian School of Business in 2014. As part of the students' council, he was responsible for organising the admission and placement programmes. It was then that he experienced first hand the disadvantages of a system that is devoid of mentors and accurate information. Chaturvedi contacted Rajiv Ganjoo, an education consultant whom he had approached in 2012 prior to pursuing his masters. The initial idea was to create a student-mentor social networking platform, but it did not happen right away. The start-up was finally launched in April 2017 with an initial investment of 20 lakh.
“Leverage Edu does three things — it helps students discover programmes, get them matched to the right programme with the help of AI so that people can understand what they really should pursue depending on what they are good at, and then it matches them with experts in that regard,” says Chaturvedi. For example, an MBA student who is about to graduate would be connected to a senior executive who matches his profile. They might be from the same city and may have even done the same internships. The executive in turn would help him with applications for higher studies or enable him to prepare for a job. Though a candidate cannot apply to universities through the platform, Leverage Edu assists with the admission process.
Starting February 2018, these omnichannel interactions will be moved to a dedicated platform for both the Leverage experts and the Leverage mentee-students as the portal call them. The duration of a programme would vary from a few days to a year depending on whether the student wants assistance filling college application forms or being job-ready. The student is charged a one-time fee that comes to an average of around Rs 50,000 for the collegiate-level preparations. For mentorship and the recently introduced ‘ready to work’ programmes the average ticket size is around Rs 5,000.
The start-up has so far seen more than 300 students in the college admission category and close to 200 across other categories. The platform also currently provides access to experts and 2,500 colleges from across the world, and has catered to around 500 students generating about 1.6 crore revenue. The revenue share with the mentors is still being experimented with. “We are trying a fixed share with a few of them, per student fee with some others and some are paid on a per-hour basis. Since we are in an early stage we are still figuring it out,” says Chaturvedi.
The company presently has offices in Delhi, Bengaluru and the UAE. In August it raised an undisclosed seed amount from a clutch of individual investors. “We are looking at Bahrain and Qatar next. Within India, we will start to look at tier two cities such as Jaipur and Pune initially, then Vizag, Bhopal and Indore,” says Chaturvedi. And if you aren't convinced with a simple aptitude test, then it's time you enrolled for a programme at Leverage Edu.