Ashish Fernando can thank a collapsing activity market for his route to entrepreneurship with iSchoolConnect. In 2008, he positioned aside goals of becoming a microbiologist in India to pursue an MBA within the US, in which he believed a variety of innovation in data technology and biotechnology to be taking place.
But, a yr later, despite having invested in academic experts, Ashish, 31, observed it difficult to narrow down a grasp’s programme at a reputable American university. He faced numerous difficulties dealing with sellers whilst looking to sift through the endless facts on-line.
These demanding situations, which also protected pursuing standardised trying out, getting financing, and a pupil visa within the bag, led Ashish to co-discovered Mumbai-primarily based iSchoolConnect in 2017, a startup that streamlines the university seek and application procedure for students around the world.
It is a global platform that suits potential college students with academic programmes the use of predictive modelling and allows them to create and put up their applications thru a unmarried interface.
“Our platform uses deep gaining knowledge of strategies to provide corrective actions on student essays, resumes, and video interviews, all in actual-time, as a consequence decreasing the want for time-consuming human intervention,” says Ashish.
He provides that the startup focusses on college students originating in Asia and journeying to the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK for his or her further education.
How does it work?
As soon as the pupil registers and offers their records and resume at the iSchoolConnect platform, they could observe for special graduate programmes at foreign universities from its platform. The scholar can also mention their search choices.
Ashish explains that based at the records given, iSchoolConnect’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) generation shortlists and recommends a few university programmes.
“The college students also can schedule one-on-one periods with our in-house experts for recommendation or consulting. These specialists have over 15 years of revel in in overseas universities, and offer steering to the students on matters inclusive of scholarships, SOP writing, letters of recommendation, and visa,” explains Ashish.
The platform works on two models.
1. Recruitment as a provider (RaaS): Under this, iSchoolConnect will fee a commission on each worldwide student enrolled in a programme thru the platform.
2. Technology as a Service (TaaS): Here, iSchoolConnect will price a setup charge of minimal $15,000 further to a minimum month-to-month subscription of $three hundred for every of the equipment (‘Essay Grader’, ‘Video Analyzer’, ‘Document Reader’, ‘Conversational Assistant’) deployed at the organization.
The startup prices $four hundred (top rate) and $2,000 (pro) in keeping with 12 months relying on the subscription version.
The fundamental model, which is unfastened, permits the consumer to log in, practice for special universities and get one session of professional counselling.
The top rate version offers them the shortlisted alternatives on pinnacle of the capabilities available with the simple version along with access to its interview and SOP grading tool.
The seasoned version allows students to interact with the consultants as well as use all its functions, which include visa and loan assistance.
Since inception, iSchoolConnect claims that its user base has grown 3X month on month.
“Our internet site currently receives 1,00,000 visits according to month. With respect to the customer base, our present conversion price to paid clients is 10 percentage of person registrations. We strive to keep growing our consumer base by means of the equal rate for the subsequent years. Our precise product offerings, remarkable on line content material, and top notch customer service were the principal boom drivers,” notes Ashish.
Some of the colleges which iSchoolConnect helped students get into consist of the Boston University, the Northeastern University, the University of California Berkeley, the Bentley University, and the Penn State University, amongst others. The platform has helped students visit international locations inclusive of america, Canada and UK for better studies.
The organisation claims to have a total of over 7,000 registered students on its platform till now.
Life earlier than commencing
Ashish began his career as a software engineer with Thomson Reuters in 2009 and then went directly to take a couple of govt roles in programme management on the R&D wing of HCL Technologies, India. He then joined an AI startup Quantiphi in 2015, wherein he managed the Data Science and Engineering commercial enterprise.
Ashish has a grasp’s degree in Biotechnology from Sathyabama University, Tamil Nadu, and is likewise an MBA graduate from Bentley University, Massachusetts.
After he graduated from the Bentley University, he observed that there was no unmarried comprehensive platform available to assist college students reduce thru the muddle and home in on the best university for their next programme. He then decided to release a bias-free device mastering-pushed model that is speedy, available, and dependable, and enables college students understand their proper match and practice to establishments inside minutes.
Ashish had commenced iSchoolConnect together with MBA classmate Don Kphury. However, Don needed to depart the startup to pursue different duties and Ashish now runs iSchoolConnect himself.
The startup presently has commercial enterprise locations — one at Massachusetts, US, and the alternative at Mumbai. “Our buyers are based totally out of Massachusetts and India and we use their premises to host the enterprise,” says Ashish.