The average annual spend for academic needs by students is approximately Rs. 2 Cr per institute in urban areas. This evolution in Education supplies market enables the educational institute to facilitate these supplies in desired quality and quantity for their students, without spending precious time or dealing with haphazard local supplies markets. That’s why Geetanjali Khanna started Fastudent.com. She aims to bring a change on how supply of academic material takes place. Fastudent.com lets students order any education supplies at their home or classroom in just a click with virtual shop and Branded e-stores of their own education institute created by Fastudent.com. Geetanjali describes Fastudent as “a niche platform which services the students community all the way from Play Group to Post Graduation (PG to PG).”
We caught up with the spirited entrepreneur for a chat:
Education is often a hard market to enter, why this? Any specific passion to spread education easier?
Education has always been core to me; I have witnessed the academic supplies market in and out. I always believed in the concept of creating self-assisted learners, where students decided for themselves what they need, without worrying for “how to get to it”. I just believed in the concept and kept converting every nonbeliever around us to be a believer. Fastudent is an enterprise idea born out of a similar enterprising experience-I had as a student.The struggle to beat the competition without getting beaten up by the chase behind “finding supplies”, was a contstant factor for me as student . I never believed in external spoon fed help, and charted by own course.
When I noticed, years later it was still a similar experience for students and their parents, to source that extra bit required for supplementing education, it was like a Buzzer in my head. All we are trying to do is set a never before seen online stage to offer students, their choice of books, stationery or hiring a tutor or testing their skills digitally, all with super customisation to their specific educational institute
Have you always been an entrepreneur? What did you do before jumping into starting up?
First time entrepreneur in the startup world, but with an entrepreneurial bent of mind, always.
I worked with large teams and creating mini self sustaining ecosystems, within the organisations to maximise outputs. I have worked with global retail giants like Walmart, Target and Consulting firms like E&Y for 9 years before jumping into my own startup. I have travelled across the world, handled multiple functions like SCM, Category Management And R&D before starting up with Fastudent.
As a women entrepreneur, have you faced any challenges to start up?
An entrepreneurial journey is always a roller-coaster ride. There are many questions which you need to ask yourself, and find an answer to it-before taking the final plunge. Challenges have been always there. I still remember the blend of curiosity as well nervousness running in my mind while going for my first Start-up meeting. It was quite an experience to handle 8-9 functions of the start-up and keep juggling between them
I have faced root challenges like logistics team members refusing to call me at late hours (despite a lingering crisis), to maintaining a continuum between various aspects of business like supply chain management, product development and customer experience. Eventually, things became easy going and made me stronger than before.
What are your top 3 tips to women entrepreneurs fearing to take the jump?
There is never the right time to start-up; it’s your own conviction that gets any timing bang on!
The belief is what always keeps everyone motivated – Love what you do, and the motivation is never an issue.
Make sure there is no clock ticking on you on any front, you need all the energies and space of mind to focus on your start-up, with blinkers on. Remove the chasers before they chase you.
What sort of tricks are you using to capture the market?
Fastudent has the first mover advantage, and it is in this context, we continue to gain experience in the industry. Our solutions are indigenous and ever evolving, focused on the bottlenecks in the Indian education system. We work every closely with our Institutes and Customers to hear what they need. Customer Experience is the secret Sauce
Education is fast gaining prominence in each town and city of India, and it is this huge potential which we wish to tap. After all, we are providing technologically enabled retail solutions, to make it accessible to all. W-o-M has been a primary source of customer acquisition for us and we continue to let be our flag bearer, until the market gets saturated
It is our strong belief that each student in India should be provided with the seamless opportunity to supplement their education requirement. Our suo motto is, and continues to be able to eliminate the inefficiencies in accessibility of education products for all stakeholders-be it students, parents, academicians and institutions
How many registered and active users does Fastudent have right now?
We have 200 campuses enrolled with us at present and will be inching to 1000 odd institutes by this fiscal end. We have about 5 lakh students purchasing from us.