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Chiranjeev Thomas
Chiranjeev Thomas

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My First Tech Startup ... An Accident?

How solving a problem for my college mates gave me a glimpse into the world of tech startups

Prelude :

Let me begin by stating that it would be a long stretch for me to even call the humbe website I built for a few hundred people while still at the university, a legitimate startup .

Heck , I didn't even code it ... just went on Google Sites and used predefined templates to put together a functional static website .

At that moment , it was more about solving a problem I had myself, so that others like me would not have to struggle with it as much as I did.

However , it did use digital technology to address a pain point , so I'll stick to calling it a tech - startup !

Scenario :

Every year students have to appear for 2 main exams , a unit test and submit a couple of assignments that are taken by 180 people of a specific Course ( MCA )

As per exam paper trends , About 60 - 70 % of the Topics / Questions are repeated from the last 5 years papers in every subject

Theoretically, if you come prepared with the answers to the past 5 years' exam questions, then you will be able to pass the exam without buying any books, making notes, or attending classes (of course, you should keep attendance in mind)

The Problem : Digital Copies of Question papers are non-existant , and the only way to get ones hands on the previous years papers is to go to the 2nd floor of the University's Library and take a zerox of each and every question paper .

And this needs to be done by everyone who wants to benefit from the question papers .

So , theoretically , 180 people will have to go through this arduous process EVERY YEAR

What I did not consider at the start :

  1. How would I scale it ? ( will it even scale )

  2. What's the monetisation stategy going to be ?

  3. How will I market it ?

What I did cosider at the start :

  1. Will people actually benefit from it ? ( does solving the problem have value )

  2. Will it make the life of even 1 person a bit better ?

  3. Will it solve a recurring problem ? ( i.e Will solving this problem have a long term impact , albeit , for a small group of people )

Some metrics :

Starting Assumtion : Maximum Number of people estimated to be helped at any point in time : 60 * 3 = 180 ( 3 batches of classes )

Actual Number of page visits per month on average : 33.52 ( Google Analytics )

Actual Number of unique visitors throughout the lifetime of the website : 1106 ( Google Analytics )

Maximum number of people to ever visit the website in a given month : 120 ( Google Analytics )

Money spent on marketing the product : 0


Simply put , the problem that I was trying to solve was the lack of digital resources for students to study for upcoming exams.

To address this problem, I decided to create a website that would host digitally scanned exam papers.

I used my own Google Drive to store the scanned papers, and I made it simple for students to access them through the website.

The website was designed to be user-friendly and easy to navigate, mobile responsive , with a clean and modern design.

The website gained a lot of traction since its launch.

It has received positive reviews from students , who have found it to be a helpful resource for their studies and their careers.

The website has also received favorable reviews from users on Quora and Facebook.

Quora : "Screenshot 2023-08-28 at 11.36.53 AM.png "

However, the website did not generate any sponsorships / income for me. ( but then , that was never the objective )

In conclusion, my startup project was a success ( or at least how i defined success for this particuar project ) .

I was able to solve a real-world problem by creating a simple website that hosted digitally scanned question papers that catered to the needs of a few hundred students .

Concluding Thoughts :

How would I have scaled the startup, had I chosen to !

I could have made the website usefull for all the students at the university ( More than 1,000,000 students ) by making it easy for individuals from all courses to submit scanned papers to the website

Which feature would have made the website 10X more usefull ?

M.L algorithms that would have scanned question papers and predited the questions to be asked with high accuracy for all courses .

How could I have monetise the startup ?

Google Ads

Ed-tech sponsorships

Mentoring Framework ( 1 to 1 ) from industry exprets

Premium Question paper generation with highest % of accuracy

How would I have marketed it ?

Posting about the website on Facebook groups of all the courses , along with the accuracy of the website to predict upcoming exam questions would have generated suffiient buzz and impetus for people to start using and contributing to the website

( p.s : I did not purchase even a single text book during the 3 years of my masters and solely relied on Google Search+ Digital Question papers to prepare for my exame )

( p.p.s : I spent no more than 6 hours of prep time / subject using the exam papers and scored above 60% in aggregate)

Click to View the Website: In case you wanted to have a look

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