A SHOT TO DIGITIZE MANAGEMENT!!
-An interview by starprenuer Kanchi Arora
Student Almanac is a company of three very keen and passionate youngsters, two of which are IIT-roorkee alumni, who work wholeheartedly to make their startup a success. These people do not care about profits, all they aim for is to capture the market. These young individuals put all their heart, mind and soul to bloom and prosper. They are primarily into Internet services and solutions.They provide ERP (Enterprise resource planning) Software’s which are designed to automate all the internal and external processes of an institution and also help in improving communication among Parents, Students, Teachers, Management, and Alumni. Their basic product “Channel-S” is a comprehensive web-based Automation and Management Software which can be accessed from anywhere and has been designed specifically for educational institutes to ensure smooth administration and management of various activities.
I talked to Mr. Anand Agarwal and Mr. Divij Goyal and was unfortunate to not find Mr. Suchit Dinodia as he was out for some work.
Kanchi: Will you please enlighten me about your history? Your schooling and graduation?
Anand: I did my schooling from Kota and graduated from IIT, roorkee where I met Divij. He was this really enthusiastic person was mad about going towards business. He was never the kind of guy who would sit for long office hours infront of computers typing madly. He always wanted to be his own boss. So we would bunk classes and sit in the gardens thinking, “ yaar kuch toh karna hi hai”. It was in the third year that we were serious about our lives and the future. Graduation was over and we got our jobs. Jobs used to be hectic. At the beginning I used to enjoy working but later on my boss resigned and that was when I too thought of quitting the job as the new boss was pretty audacious.
Divij: I have always been into entrepreneurship if that’s what you call it. From the beginning I had this zeal of starting something of my own. I have made money in college selling a few things and all. But it was during the last year of my college when I had this idea of this product. So, pissed off with my job, I left it and took my first step towards the startup.
Kanchi: Nowadays, if we start our business, we usually look to solve somebody’s problem. Take for instance, Map my India was made to facilitate navigating in a country like india which has innumerable villages. So what was the gap you thought of bridging with your product “channel-S”?
Divij: See,we have a pretty bad management system at schools. People don’t want to work, its hectic for the teachers to fill the new CCE report cards, there is a file for every student and there is so much paper work that anybody would get mad. So,Channel-S is a web based portal which helps in maintaining school’s operation like admissions, student records, attendance reports,online test, examination reports, payroll, library operations and many more. This saves time, money, paper work and efforts getting the best results.
Kanchi: can you describe the phase where you left your job and were working on the start up? What were the pressures?
Anand: I travelled, you know. I went far, asking people, collecting data, and to be honest, I really enjoyed that phase. It took us 8 months to develop the software and everything. We hired a technical person and the thing went really smooth. But the biggest pressure comes from family.when the aunties in your neighbourhood ask,” why did you leave the job,son? What was wrong? That was a good job you were paid well.” And I used to answer, I am starting my own business, they would tell me that I am risking a lot and I shouldn’t do it but as we know when we want something really desperately the whole universe conspires to get it for you. I never lose hope and let me tell you, I am really happy doing this.
Kanchi: what are the other problems that you face except for societal pressures?
Anand: Finance is a huge problem. We are a startup, we have not taken money from VCs. We are using the savings from our job but then again being together is the biggest strength. We arrange for the money somehow, go to the clients and convince them to buy our product and luckily we are getting good feedbacks.
Kanchi: What were your biggest hurdles till date? And how did you overcome them?
Anand: To convince a person to buy a product is, I think, a very troublesome and a crucial job. Indians are so resistive to change. They wont try you, they would stick to their traditional ways and that’s where the problem begins. They give you false hopes, they discourage you and that is never ending. we try giving them demos and free versions just for them to use and try. We convince them that this is a far better way of maintaining records. You wont imagine, we speak a lot in the meetings.
Kanchi: What is the idea right now? You said you are not concentrating on profits, Why is that?
Anand: Kanchi, we are still a startup. We just need people to use our product and see how efficient it is. It is super flexible because all the coding part and all is being done by us, so anything could be added or omitted. We want to change the traditional rules, want to pull people into the techno-world and want to make them realize how easily computer gets work done for us. Profits is secondary. We are fine with the expenses getting covered for now.
Kanchi: what is the bigger picture in yourhead? Where do you see your startup in a span of five years.?
Anand: We would be known. Have an identity in the market, hopefully. Lets see.
Divij: I would want to start earning profits although we are not impatient but I guess I would be expecting minimum profits.
Kanchi: what advice would you give to the young entreprenuers?
Anand: Never ever lose hope. I strongly believe where there is a will, there has to be a way. Don’t get disheartended, people might not support you. Just be cool.
Divij: Stick to your Idea. If you don’t respect it, do not expect respect someone else too. Your idea is your key. Do not let yourself down by giving up, work hard for it.
Kanchi: Thank you so much Mr. Anand and Mr. Divij. A very good luck for your future. It was a pleasure talking to you.
Mr. Anand Agarwal Mr. Divij Goyal Mr. Suchit Dinodia