Ashish Fernando can thank a collapsing activity market for his route to entrepreneurship with school connect. In 2008, he positioned aside goals of becoming a microbiologist in India to pursue an MBA within the US. He believed a variety of innovations in data technology and biotechnology were taking place.
But, a yr later, despite having invested in academic experts, Ashish, 31, observed it difficult to narrow down a grasp’s program at a reputable American university. He faced numerous difficulties dealing with sellers whilst looking to sift through the endless facts online.
These demanding situations, which also protected pursuing standardized trying out, getting financing, and a pupil visa within the bag, led Ashish to co-discovered Mumbai-primarily based school connect 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 programs using predictive modeling and allows them to create and put up their applications through an 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 focuses on college students originating in Asia and journeying to the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK for further education.
How does it work?
As soon as the pupil registers and offers their records and resume at the school connect platform, they could observe special graduate programs at foreign universities from its platform. The scholar can also mention their search choices.
Ashish explains that iSchoolConnect’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) generation shortlists and recommends a few university programs based on the records.
“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 overseas universities and offer to steer 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, school connect will fee a commission on each worldwide student enrolled in a program thru the platform.
2. Technology as a Service (TaaS):
Here, school connects will price a setup charge of a 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 rated) 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 counseling.
The top rate version offers them the shortlisted alternatives on the 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 and use all its functions, including visa and loan assistance.
Since its inception, the school connects claims that its user base has grown 3X month on month.
“Our internet site currently receives 1,00,000 visits according to month. Our present conversion price to paid clients is 10 percent of person registrations concerning the customer base. We strive to keep growing our consumer base using an equal rate for the subsequent years. Our precise product offerings, remarkable online content material, and top-notch customer service were the principal boom drivers,” notes Ashish.
Some of the colleges which school connect 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 the UK, for better studies.
The organization claims to have a total of over 7,000 registered students on its platform 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 program 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 no unmarried comprehensive platform available to assist college students in reducing the muddle and home in on the best university for their next program. He then decided to release a bias-free device mastering-pushed model that is speedy, available, and dependable and enables college students to understand their proper match and practice to establishments inside minutes.
Ashish had commenced school to connect with MBA classmate Don Kphury. However, Don needed to depart the startup to pursue different duties, and Ashish now runs school connect himself.
The startup presently has commercial enterprise locations — one in Massachusetts, US, and the alternative in Mumbai. “Our buyers are based totally out of Massachusetts and India, and we use their premises to host the enterprise,” says Ashish.