Q.1)How did the idea come up?
Super Scholar actually started off as a scholarship company. My previous startup was in the education space and I saw the struggles first-hand that students faced when they had to pay their school & college fees. So I knew that there had to be a better way to finance education. We started off with scholarships because I knew about the US education system where over 80% of students get some form of a grant or financial aid. They also have a lot of interest-subsidised student loans and that infrastructure simply did not exist in India.
Q.2) What made you start working on and executing this idea?
So what made me start working on this idea was that I just have that itch for action in the sense that when an idea sticks with me for a few days, I just have to take some action to learn a little bit more about it and Super Scholar was just one of those many itches that I've had. So I began diving deeper into the space, speaking to students, and learning about the real problems they were facing. And one of the things I did to actually execute was looking for a co-founder.
Q.3) How has 100X helped you at the beginning of your journey?
100X has been crucial to our journey as a company. They gave us the first cheque, so they obviously gave us that huge boost of confidence in pursuing this problem that we knew this is something worth solving. Beyond that, obviously, the investor network that they've opened up is impossible for any of us to do as a standalone founder. They have obviously so many years of investing experience and such a vast network that it's an unparalleled boost that any company gets when they join, especially in the early stages. And finally, the portfolio companies that we are a part of, it's like a community. So these portfolio companies were some of our earliest customers until today. They supported us in so many ways.
Q.4) Has your startup pivoted? If so, What has the pivot been?
Yes, we have pivoted. We have Pivoted from scholarships to training and placements. As for challenges that we have faced, there's no shortage of challenges as a founder. So definitely having a co-founder helps because everyday is like a roller coaster of ups and downs. And at the end of the day, we knew what we were getting into when we started something like this. So persistence is the only solution. You realize after one setback after another that in one week, in ten days, in one month, that problem that you're having today really does not matter. Some solution, something just comes up. So just about persisting through it and making sure that you are mentally stable through all of it.
Q.5) What stage is your startup at present?
So we are currently at the seed stage. We have a product and we are iterating rapidly to achieve real Product Market Fit. This is our goal for the next one to two years. But that, of course, is a very qualitative goal. It's very tough to know when you have a Product Market Fit. So a more concrete number is to hit $ 2 million in AR before the end of 2023.
Q.6) What keeps you motivated & keeps you going?
We know that the problem we are solving is huge. We have a massive opportunity in front of us. It's a problem that no one has really solved at scale till today in India. And for us, the way we see it is that it's a matter of time before we crack it. It's just about how long we can stay in the game.
Q.7) Your message for Startup founders building in the Services Tech sector?
I don't have much to say because I am new to the space.I am learning every day. The only thing I can say, which is obviously becoming more and more common knowledge now, is that from a fundraising standpoint, it is key to build a sustainable business with positive unit economics.
He is a second-time founder, with the first company in the Education Loan space. He studied Business Administration at Babson College, Boston, US. Furthermore, He is also experienced at running Operations in a commercial timber and agroforestry plantation.