News Article | October 28, 2016
MCLEAN, VA--(Marketwired - October 27, 2016) - Cognosante and Business Information Technology Solutions (BITS) announced today that Cognosante has acquired BITS, a rapidly growing provider of IT services and solutions to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). BITS, also known as The BITS Group, has more than a decade of experience in healthcare systems, enterprise business systems, business intelligence, and data analytics in the public health sector. It is one of the prime contractors of the VA's $22.3 billion Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology Next Generation (T4NG). The vehicle, awarded earlier this year, has a five-year base period with an additional five-year option period. "This acquisition represents a critical component of our growth strategy," says Michele Kang, founder and CEO of Cognosante. "Both companies were founded with the same passion and vision to think differently and bring true innovation to our large, complex public health programs. Expanding upon Cognosante's initial focus on Medicare, Medicaid, and Marketplace, the combined company now serves a wider spectrum of the public health sector, which touches more than 150 million lives in the country." "We are extremely excited about merging with the right partner that will take our joint capabilities to the next level in support of our clients' transformational initiatives," says Dan McQuay, founder and CEO of BITS. "Since inception, our focus has been on making a difference for our clients-those who are serving and have served-and our employees, many of whom are Veterans. We have found that same intense emphasis and spirit in Cognosante." BITS will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Cognosante, and will be known as BITS, A Cognosante Company. Its founder and CEO, Dan McQuay, will continue in his role and title. Cognosante funded the acquisition through an expanded line of credit provided by Capital One and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Terms were not disclosed. An Infographic that details how Cognosante and BITS are BETTER TOGETHER can be found at: http://cognosante.com/content/infographic. Business Information Technology Solutions, also doing business as BITS and The BITS Group, provides lifecycle IT consulting and support services to the public sector. BITS is a service-disabled Veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) with an unwavering focus on those who have served and are currently serving. The BITS Group focuses on providing services and solutions for health systems, enterprise business systems, and business intelligence and analytics. BITS is dedicated to providing a superior level of service and the expertise required to realize immediate return on business and technology investments. The company has established a Veteran Involvement group to actively engage in Active Duty and Veteran events. With many employees who are Veterans or have immediate family who are serving or have served, BITS is eager to hire Veterans and proudly support an array of leading Veteran Service Organizations. More information can be found at www.thebitsgroup.com. About Cognosante Cognosante provides technology solutions, business process outsourcing, and consulting services to Federal, state, and local government healthcare agencies. The company has nearly 3 decades of experience in which it has worked with 48 states and the Federal government, developing, managing, and executing large, complex health information programs. Its expertise includes Medicaid, Medicare, health insurance marketplaces, health data standards and reconciliations, modular system development and integration, health data analytics, and fraud, waste, and abuse. Visit cognosante.com for more information.
News Article | March 21, 2015
Hello all, I have now attempted 4 times to install the Windows 10 build 10041 build through Windows update. Every time I attempt to install the update I get the error 8x80004005. I have tried pressing 'Retry', clearing the cache, running the troubleshooter and reregistering the Windows Update services and BITS. I have also searched for the error code and I haven't found anything that has actually worked for me yet. Any suggestions? Regards, Aaron Graham
News Article | May 26, 2015
[ This interview is part of a YourStory series called Startup Hatch, about incubators and accelerators in the startup ecosystem. See earlier profiles of incubators at IIT Bombay, BITS Pilani, NCL, NID, IIIT-Bangalore, Vellore Institute of Technology, and PSG Coimbatore. ] Vasudeva Varma is Professor and Dean (Research & Development) at IIIT Hyderabad, India. His research interests are in information retrieval, extraction and access – more specifically, in social media analysis, cross language information access, summarisation, semantic search and cloud computing. He is also the CEO of IIIT Hyderabad Foundation, which manages IIIT-H’s IP and technology transfers. Varma was Co-founder of SETU Software Systems, whose product Veooz is a social signal-based content discovery platform with social media search and analysis capabilities. He has published a book on ‘Software Architecture’ (Pearson Education) and close to 200 technical papers in journals and conferences. In 2004, he won the young scientist award and grant from Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, for his proposal on personalised search engines. In 2007, he was given the Research Faculty Award by AOL Labs. Varma obtained his Ph.D. from the Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Hyderabad, in 1996. He was earlier with MediaCognition, InfoDream, Citicorp and Muze. He joins us in this exclusive interview on the vision and achievements of the CIE Incubator at IIIT Hyderabad. What was the founding vision of your incubator, and how is it supported? Our incubator CIE (Centre of Innovation and Entrepreneurship) is part of the IIIT-H Foundation which was created in 2008 to aid the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIIT-H), in managing its intellectual property portfolio, identify collaborative opportunities with industry, and above all to support entrepreneurial activity in Hyderabad by creating a startup hub to really push forward the city’s ambition to be a startup powerhouse. IIIT-H, our host institute, played a pivotal role in operationalising this incubator. Department of Science and Technology recognised our vision and gave its support through the TBI scheme in 2012. What is the profile of the management team of your incubator? I am playing the role of CEO of the IIIT-H Foundation in addition to being the Dean of Research at IIIT Hyderabad. Srinivas Kollipara who is the COO has 20 years of management experience working with international teams and projects, specialising in the creation of long-term value for organisations from customers, markets and relationships. Tom Thomas, Senior Incubation Manager, is an IIM Kozhikode alumnus and has experience leading various initiatives in Startup Village, Kochi. In addition, we have four more member team helping us with various functions within CIE. What would you say are the promising opportunities for Indian startups? The way we interact with each other, with machines and with our surroundings are changing. We are also moving into a more open world, with banks and other organisations ready to open up their APIs to the developer community. These factors combine with our increasing capabilities in extracting information and learning from huge amounts of data available to us today; the scope for further imagination and innovation is endless. What are the key challenges faced by startups in India, and how can you help bridge the gap? In my point of view talent, mentorship and fundraising are the three key challenges faced by Indian startups. We try to collaborate with the research wing of IIIT to help our startups be technically stronger. Finding suitable mentors for the varying needs of the startups has been challenging. But with regular one-on-one sessions with industry experts, we are trying to bridge this gap. What are the selection criteria for startups in your incubator? We always try to incubate startups which are into core tech and have some alignment with the various research activities happening in IIIT-H. We focus mostly on product startups and we ensure that the startups have a passionate team of founders. See Table 1 for a list of companies which have incubated and graduated from CIE. Table 1: List of companies incubated and graduated from CIE What support and services do startups receive in your incubator? The incubator has a plug and play co-working space as well as office space for the startups. We also tie up with various service providers so that the startups can focus on their core areas. We partner with various organisations to help our startups acquire services with more ease and at cheaper rates. We also organise frequent networking events, workshops and one-on-one mentoring sessions. How would you differentiate your incubator from the others in the field? Our differentiation is our focus on core tech. While most startups in the Indian ecosystem are coming up with innovative use cases of existing technology, our aim is to foster startups which take technology from zero to one rather than building on top of what is already created. What would you define as success for your incubator? Being an incubator, we would like to see our startups become successful. Startups come back to our incubator after various acceleration programs in Indian and global accelerators, and validate the culture and value we are creating. The extra mile that we would like to go is to create new technologies from our research labs and make them commercial. How do you compare India’s incubators with those of other countries like US and China? For a country the size of India, we have very few incubators, be it academic or non-academic. The support structures built around the incubators also need to be stronger and more conducive as is the case in say, Silicon Valley. The incubators in the US had a large number of private entities nurturing it. In China, the government intervention played a huge role. We are fortunate to have backing from both the public and private sectors, but unfortunately most of the incubators in India are yet to find the right models for sustainability and growth. What are your plans for the coming three to five years with respect to new startups? We are making a transition from being sector agnostic, to being sector specific. In the coming years we plan to extend our focus to startups working in the field of language technologies, cognitive sciences, advanced robotics and a few other upcoming areas of technology. What are your recommendations for Indian policymakers to improve the startup ecosystem? Starting a business has become easier compared to a few years ago. But we still need to go a long way in making India an ideal destination to start a business. The processes and regulations have to be made more supportive, at least in the early years, so that the startups can focus more on their work. The government is already extending its indispensable support to incubators and startups through its various schemes. We are thankful to the government for this and we hope for its continued support. What are your recommendations to the startups and entrepreneurs in our audience? We live in an age where changes and technological advancements are happening faster than ever. Hence, time and pace are crucial. You need to run with your idea. We don’t have the luxury of sitting down and examining the idea extensively. The faster you can get the idea to the market and the faster you can iterate and improve your product, more chances you have to lead the race.
News Article | June 1, 2015
BITS Pilani is known for its entrepreneurial culture. The college has many successful alumni in the startup industry like the founders of redBus, Exotel, Zivame, and Blume Ventures, etc. It also has a course in ‘New Venture Creation’ which is supported with a fund to invest in startups from BITS. This culture has allowed the students to dream and go after them. To demonstrate what we’re talking about, meet Shubham Mishra, Vrushali Prasade and Harikrishna Valiyath, students from third year at BITS Pilani Goa Campus. The trio has built a Virtual Reality Headset- Tesseract under the company name Absentia. Yes, think on the lines of Oculus, the virtual reality company that Facebook bought for $2 billion. An inspiration for sure, but while Oculus Rift currently deals with 3D gaming, the trio at Absentia wants to apply their headset Tessarect for various purposes also. Shubham says: Is Tesseract ready? “We are ready with our pre-manufacturing prototype. Our device plus softwares are ready and complete. Currently, we are open to demos and final testing,” says Shubham. With a high resolution of 4k per eye (side by side format), Tesseract is likely to be in the price range of $150-220 which is much more reasonable. In case you’re thinking why the name sounds familiar, recollect the movie Interstellar, that’s your clue. Right from the start of the project to date, including software, hardware, product design etc., the trio has managed everything. It has taken them eight months to come up with the model they have and will now begin to go out and show it to more people. “VR is a huge un-captured market and streamlining inventory and marketing for a global reach will require investment around $100k to $150k,” says Shubham. The trio has bootstrapped the project with their own PCB design which was fabricated from Mumbai. A few parts have been imported from Shenzen, China and rest have been procured from Grant Road, Mumbai. The team intends to apply for the ‘New Venture Creation’ course in their next semester. The project is ambitious and not having tried it out, we can still not comment on the product but the audacity of thinking something in this direction and going ahead with it is commendable. Absentia might remain a concept (or it might go ahead and make an entry in to the market) but the fact that the team has built a prototype talks a lot about the kind of work starting to happen in engineering colleges in India.
News Article | June 29, 2015
This article is a part of CloudSparks Series sponsored by Microsoft Azure. Azure is Microsoft’s cloud platform: a growing collection of integrated services—compute, storage, data, networking, and app—that help you move faster, do more, and save money. This powerful combination of managed and unmanaged services lets you build, deploy, and manage applications any way you like for unmatched productivity. Its enterprise-proven hybrid cloud solutions give you the best of both worlds and can quickly scale up or down to match demand. It’s also easier to build applications that span both on-premises and the cloud. With Azure, data storage, backup, and recovery become more efficient and economical. A BITS Pilani and IIM Lucknow alumnus, Praveen Gupta, started Cross-tab, a global market research company, way back in 2000. Since then, he has been in the startup space adopting various roles, before focusing his energy on Tallenge, a contest platform for creative people to showcase their talent. The idea took birth somewhere in 2010 when the craze for talent shows was at its peak in India. The likes of ‘Indian Idol’ and ‘India’s Got Talent’, etc. were everywhere and Praveen started to think about how the life of participants could be made easier. “One needs to apply, stand in large queues, wait again – the entire process can be frustrating for many. Why can’t a big part of this chain be taken online?” thought Praveen. The idea took time to crystallize but after a survey and talks with other people in the know, Praveen concluded that it was a thought worth going after. Not a coder himself, Praveen found a development partner, and built the initial version of Tallenge which was a contest platform for creative people to showcase their work online. Starting with videos, participants could upload their ‘sample’ of work for a particular theme, and people from across the world could watch and vote. Geography was not a restriction any longer. Content creators from all over the globe were participating and they shared their work to attract traffic from everywhere. When we last wrote about Tallenge in April 2014, the platform already had more than 50,000 participants with traffic coming from North America, Europe and South East Asia. By the time Tallenge reached this milestone, Praveen had also managed to secure investment from Kalaari Capital. “We reached out directly to Kalaari. After the first interaction, there was a break; but with the growth we were seeing we reached out again, and Kalaari showed confidence in us by putting in the first institutional round of funding,” says Praveen. Tallenge has been built from scratch and it was clear from the very beginning that it would be hosted in the cloud. “We had a couple of options and after I took in a few third party reviews, we decided to go ahead with Microsoft’s Azure,” says Praveen. It is very important to be aware of what a cloud platform can do. Many of the things that team Tallenge wanted to build already existed as features on Microsoft’s Azure. Praveen also suggests that instead of looking for funding first, entrepreneurs should be more focused on building the technology right. This can only happen if one stays abreast of what is going around in the technology domain. One impressive feat achieved by Tallenge is that it has outsourced its tech. It has been a long and challenging journey but Praveen has been able to pull it off. “One needs some financial security and a lot of patience to make this work. It is better to work with experienced and larger development firms rather than smaller services teams who spend all their time in just delivering projects,” he says. It is advisable to have an in house tech team but Tallenge is a good example of how someone can also work with an outsourcing model. Over time, Tallenge has scaled and has also found other focus areas. In the last one year, the team has realized that a talent platform like theirs can be used for a wide range of applications. Consider a large organization that wants to have a competition platform for its employees. As of now, they make separate sub-sites or make do with Facebook pages, but Tallenge can have a platform shipped in five minutes on which companies can host contests for employees. This is also valid for college communities. Tallenge thus become a SaaS company on one hand and still has its open platform for creative people to come, join and participate. And the move has worked. Over a one year period, traffic from India has increased from 15% to 75% of the total and Tallenge currently has more than 200k users. “We have taken steps slowly and it has paid off. Even on the mobile platform, we have been figuring out what we need on our app and have only recently finalized the first version which we are all set to build,” says Praveen. A team of 11 as of now, Tallenge is focused on the new positioning and is taking it out to more organizations in the market. They also have their heads down on the mobile front to develop a wholesome package that will make it easier for creative people to showcase their content and also get something tangible in return.
News Article | August 14, 2015
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have taken over our digital lives and made us rely on them to not only keep track of what our friends and family have been up to, but to also discover good content on the web. In some cases, we may want to access content or gain insights that are location specific and may find it difficult to sift through large volumes of data on mainstream social media platforms. Loud Shout aims to tackle this problem. Loud Shout is a hyperlocal bulletin board that allows users within a community to share their thoughts anonymously. The mobile app allows users to post anything they wish in 180 characters without revealing their identity. The startup was founded by Amit Vaish, Anil Kumar Vaswani who are IIT-BHU alumni and Abhinav Singhal who is a BITS Pilani alumnus. Amit saw the first tech boom and burst of 2000 from Bay area as a techie. Since then he has successfully run real estate and education management companies. Anil started his career with SAIL and then ventured out on his own. He has had a successful journey as an entrepreneur in construction, education and hospitality industries but considers himself an artist at heart. Abhinav started his career with an investment bank and then moved to US to get his masters degree from UT Austin. But his love for technology and solving problems pulled him back to his roots. He recently returned from the USA and was inspired by the success of hyperlocal messaging apps such as YikYak. He wondered why such platforms weren’t popular in India and the founding team decided to take up this challenge with a few different USPs, one of which is multiple streams or feeds. The app consists of two main feeds- one of the feeds is a ‘basecamp feed’ aimed at large colleges or office campuses while the other is a local feed existing within five km radius of a user’s geographic location. The platform is moderated by the community through ‘upvotes’ and ‘downvotes’. Users can also ‘flag’ any posts to the Loud Shout moderation team, which will intervene and remove or delete a post, if it find it violating the community guidelines. Abhinav added, The startup is currently not looking to monetise the app but is, instead, focusing on developing its product, adding new features and increasing user base for the next six to eight months. It is only after this whole process will the company look into monetising the app through different revenue streams. The company’s focus is on growing organically and the app is currently for campuses on invitation-only basis and is open across 70 campuses. Target audience include tech savvy Indians who are either in college or individuals who work at corporates or startups and wish to connect with their local community. Loud Shout is a venture of AarRvee Idealabs Technologies and recently received investment from ShopClues co-founder and CEO Sanjay Sethi, Ravi Jaipuria (RJ Corp) and a Hong Kong-based investment banker. The investors will be mentoring the startup for future growth on product, technology and other aspects. The co-founders have a combined experience of 45 years across domains of real estate, technology, scaling up organisations, education, hospitality and investment banking across the globe, and have also put in their own seed fund for the venture. Abhinav said, The team is 20-people strong, across different roles such a technology, marketing, on-ground support etc. The founders are focusing on adding new features in the app for user engagement and have a pipeline for feature releases every month for the next one year. Hyperlocal startups are currently the flavour of the season. Many hyperlocal logistics and delivery startups have taken over the local markets and are seeing good traction and some have raised funding from investors. Coming to ‘hyperlocal messaging’, YikYak, one of the pioneers in this sector, has so far raised USD 73.5 million in funding in three rounds. Shout by Spangle raised USD two million from investors such as Robert Woolf and Shane McMahon. Lookup, a chat application that is trying to disrupt local commerce, raised funds from Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, in May 2015. Loud Shout’s founders believe that most of the internet consumption will be mobility driven, with India already having the largest youth population in the world with a large percentage of Indian smartphone users between the age of 18 and 25. Abhinav said, The idea is interesting and there is a need in India to bring the local community together on a hyperlocal platform to discuss problems and needs. Loud Shout also has an experienced team which has worked in India and US and also at different scales. The main issue with anonymous platforms is authenticity of information, which was one of the main issues with Secret app, which shut down last year. So, content curation and moderation will be very important for Loud Shout. It will be interesting to see how the team adds new features and scale the product in the next few months.
News Article | August 26, 2015
The estimated healthcare expenditure in India in 2013 was USD 96.3 billion, which constituted almost five per cent of the GDP. With a growth rate of approximately 12 per cent, this number is expected to cross USD 195 billion in the next three years. However, according to records, India as a nation has only 0.6 doctors per 1000 people. Many believe that technology is yet to hit the medical devices segment. In order to bridge this gap, Vibhav Joshi and Sumedh Kaulgud, along with other alumni of BITS Pilani, founded Sattva MedTech in 2014. The duo had met in campus and began working on the concept in late 2013. The idea came to Vibhav, when he had gone home for a Diwali break in 2013. His mother, a gynaecologist, had recently purchased an NST-CTG (Fetal Non-Stress Test-cardiotocography) machine. However, she wasn’t happy with the device and had qualms about its reliability. Vibhav sensed an opportunity and started digging deep into the clinical need for fetal monitoring, history of the NST technology and literature available on advances in fetal monitoring and labor management. Many issues related to the usability and high skill requirement of the NST-CTG were obvious. When he went back to campus, he got together a group of people interested in medical instrumentation and they started brainstorming on how to build a highly reliable, low-cost fetal monitoring device. This is how Sattva MedTech was born. “We’re developing a next-generation fetal health monitoring device which leverages advanced sensors and algorithms. This device, called the Sattva Fetal Lite, has been designed and engineered for use in India and other low-and-mid-income countries,” says Vibhav. The team has also received the BITS 75 Charitable trust grant and has completed its first clinical study with St. John’s Medical College, Bengaluru. It won the title ‘Top 10 Innovator’ in the India Innovation Growth Programme run by Stanford GSB, Lockheed Martin, IC squared – University of Texas at Austin, FICCI & DST – Government of India. However, the team hasn’t had it easy, especially due to the lack of cheap and fast prototyping facilities. “The learning curve is really steep and a startup is under a lot of pressure to execute without mistakes; since we have limited resources, any error can set us back by weeks. Turn-around time for hardware is a lot longer than a software product,” says Vibhav. The team intends to target all healthcare settings where antenatal checkups and deliveries are done. They are also looking at midwives, obstetricians, nurses and health volunteers who can operate this device to detect fetal distress and take the necessary action. “We are looking at 60,000 institutions conducting such procedures by 2018 in India. This is a market of USD 300 million. The ex-India market is USD 800 million,” says Vibhav. The team has currently raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding from InnAccel. The funding, Vibhav says, will be used to increase the depth of their team and build some of the most advanced hardware and algorithms to analyse biophysical data. He adds that they aim to leverage technology to equalise access to quality healthcare for everyone. “Our differentiator is a very strong tech team and absolute focus on user experience and designing for the Indian healthcare scenario,” he says. Speaking about the investment, Siraj Dhanani of InnAccel says that the team is building a device that they believe can save lakhs of lives. This, he adds, can be done by enabling monitoring of the 10 million high-risk pregnancies in India annually. They aim to bring the Sattva Fetal Lite to the market by late 2016. There are several other products in the pipeline as well. As of 2012, there were 5.9 million perinatal deaths worldwide. The WHO global estimates stated that a third of the still births occurred during delivery. Vibhav says India has a reported 30 million pregnancies every year, of which 10 million mothers require extra monitoring during labor to detect complications. He adds that 3,00,000 perinatal deaths are recorded every year due to undetected fetal distress and related conditions. “The technology available today for fetal distress monitoring is variable, highly skill-dependent, bulky and expensive. This technology is neither viable nor available for close to 80 per cent of the care-settings in India,” he says. Adding to this, Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi, Director of Clinical Innovations at InnAccel, says that fetal heart rate monitoring through Fetal ECG acquisition is an accurate way to assess heart rate and determine fetal distress. With Sattva, the team aims to address the 3,00,000 annual perinatal deaths in India. Expected to touch USD 79 billion in 2012, the healthcare sector is now expected to reach USD 160 billion by 2017, and USD 280 billion by 2020. Today, it is considered one of the largest sectors in India, in terms of both revenue and employment.
News Article | September 6, 2015
After months of pitching and short-listing, Swagene today came up on top of the heap in the finale of Conquest 2015 – an international contest for startups run by students of India’s premier tech college, Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS), Pilani, in partnership with DCB Bank. Over 1,400 startups registered this year for Conquest, which began as a business plan competition way back in 2004 and grew into a pitch-fest for startups, one of the biggest such events to be run by students. Fifty of the startups were initially shortlisted for mentoring and pitching to VCs and entrepreneurs in Bangalore, Delhi, and Mumbai. Ten of them made the cut for the final event in Delhi today, where genetics startup Swagene emerged the winner. Gaming social network Gamezop got the runner-up trophy, while cleantech startup Longman Suntech was the closest contender. The winner, Chennai-based Swagene, provides molecular kits for users to trace their genetic makeup and lead a healthier life. Earlier, in 2014, it had been named the startup of the year by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for its pioneering work in personalized medicine. The runner-up, Gamezop from Delhi, is a social network that curates games and allows users to try out new, new ones without having to download them. The closest contender was Longman Suntech from Mumbai. It sets up solar power plants for consumers on their rooftops without charging them any installation cost up front. Consumers then buy the solar power at tariffs lower than what they would pay for power from the grid. Apart from the winner and runner-up, Truck Suvidha – an Uber for trucks – won a special “Pioneer in marketing” prize. This startup from the desert state of Rajasthan – which is also the home of BITS, Pilani – connects transporters of goods with businesses and households in real time. The other six startups who made the final round of pitches today were the following (in alphabetical order): CareerAnna from Bangalore – a portal for personalized exam prep and career development products. DoctorsNow from Johnston, USA – a virtual clinic for patients with non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries to get personalized, hassle-free healthcare. Frapp from Mumbai – a deals and discounts app for verified students. Gympp from Pune – helps users find fitness centers and trainers nearby, along with ratings and reviews. ShopElect from Mumbai – a marketplace for industrial electrical products, with a reverse auction platform for finding the best prices. Travanz from Gurgaon – a cloud-based platform that brings together a number of apps for the travel industry to run their backend operations smarter. Parth Gupta, COO of Conquest who is doing a B.Tech in Manufacturing Engineering at BITS, Pilani, shared with Tech in Asia the logistics nightmare of reaching out to entrepreneurs, investors, and sponsors – while at the same time keeping up with academic requirements. But it’s all been worth it: “Every startup that registers gives us a happiness that does away with all the tired heat-struck evening meetings we have had.” The BITS, Pilani director Ashoke Kumar Sarkar echoed the sentiment: “As part of the institute’s Vision 2020, it is our imperative to promote entrepreneurship among students who are the future of the country. Conquest, which was started by a group of enterprising students, has become a launch pad for young entrepreneurs.” See: These students are scouting for startups
News Article | September 9, 2015
After graduating from BITS Pilani, India’s premier engineering institute, Sahil Chalana launched a startup to make it easier for students to apply to universities. However, he soon realized that what students really needed was a website with in-depth information and counseling related to their next step into college. Such a site would help students identify the best career choice as well as detail practical things like entrance exam and college admission schedules, fee structures, virtual tours, cut offs, reviews, and placements. These could help them make a better decision on college selection. To fill the gap, he started up Collegedunia. College admissions is a US$45 billion opportunity with 27 million students in the nation enrolling for higher education each year. Three quarters of the enrollment happens in private colleges that generally spend around one-fifth of their overall budgets on marketing. Collegedunia is aiming for a large slice of the market. Collegedunia was launched in July 2004 with just college information and then went on to add more features. Earlier this year, it added a campus ambassador program connecting current students with newcomers. Since more than half the site’s traffic comes from mobile, the startup is developing a mobile app for providing assistance during admissions. “We have grown more than 10-fold since December 2014. More than 1,000 students register with us every day and all this is purely organic,” says Sahil. He adds that getting detailed information about colleges was the toughest part of filling the information gap. That’s why the startup set up a research team of about three dozen to gather data. “Getting information like reviews of students and alumni becomes really important. [Information on] loans and scholarships are not available anywhere on the internet,” he says. “We plan to go international as more than 100,000 Indian students choose to study abroad every year,” Sahil explains. “We would go a similar route and collect information on courses, fees, details on visa chances, and reviews – which would be a great value add to not just Indians but also global students aspiring for higher education abroad.” The startup also plans to provide solutions to colleges and coaching institutes, such as application management systems, customer relationship management tools, and online counseling tools. Collegedunia competes with large companies like Shiksha, run by publicly-listed Infoedge, and the Hindustan Times’ HTCampus. Sahil says the startup stands out by providing more information than its peers. “In the next phase we will become a personal admissions assistant rather than just an information play. Nobody in the world has ever provided 24×7 counseling the way we would do,” says Sahil. Collegedunia last year secured US$150,000 from Cardekho’s president Umang Kumar. It claims to be profitable after clocking revenues worth US$90,600 per month. Today, the Collegedunia team is pitching the concept to judges at Startup Arena, the contest that serves as the highlight to the Tech in Asia Tokyo 2015 conference. After hearing the pitch, the judges posted questions on growth, revenue, business model, and new features on mobile. The team responded by stating that college admissions is a seasonal business and so the traffic drops slightly post admissions. However, it claims to have maintained a hockey stick growth in terms of traffic and is on track to touch US$1 million in revenue. The startup makes money by sending leads to private colleges. Collegedunia aims to keep the app free for students even though it plans to launch features like aptitude tests. This is part of the ongoing coverage of Tech in Asia Tokyo 2015, our annual conference taking place on September 8 and 9.
News Article | November 14, 2016
BOSTON, Nov. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- If you're a fan of the television show "Shark Tank", you won't want to miss the episode that airs this Friday, November 18th 9:00-10:01 p.m. EST on ABC Television Network, when Catharine Arnston, Founder/CEO of Boston's ENERGYbits® www.energybits.com...