The education industry in our country is vast, with numerous options to choose from, along with several places private and government institutions that are willing to help the students. From high school coaching to preparing someone for a competitive exam, there are hundreds of institutions that are working in this field along with several online portals working in this direction too.
However, sometimes some students face problems when they are working on their own or studying for JEE or NEET at home, and the teachers are not available to solve their problems. And often, students are not able to help each other that well. Taran Singh noticed this problem and decided to bring a solution that would benefit all the aspirants to come together and learn from each other and grow. This thought leads to the launching of the most significant knowledge-sharing platform – Melvano.
How it all started
Hailing from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, and coming from a humble background, Taran Singh calls himself an engineer by birth who would tear down electronic equipment out of curiosity to see how they work. Taran was weak in academics till 7th standard when he failed in Mathematics with a score of 33 out of 100. This downfall was enough for him, and he aimed for the sky and never looked back.
Fast forward to 2014, he cracked IIT JEE with 95/120 in Maths and became the zonal topper in it. He was the only person from his state to get selected for the Indian Statistical Institute, where only 50 students get selected all over India. He completed his Bachelors and Masters in Aerospace from IIT Madras and graduated with the Institue Award, Sri Chinmay Deodhar award for the most innovative startup – Melvano. He has delivered more than 20 talks in top engineering colleges and B-Schools to help more and more students understand the entrepreneurship culture.
What is Melvano?
Melvano is an AI-based social network that brings together the JEE and NEET aspirants, forming a community where they can practice, discuss, and search questions for entrance exams. With 41,000 users on the platform and daily engagement time of 25 minutes, the platform is growing slowly and improving its audience. They have more than 20,000 questions from where a person can choose and work on and about 40,000 discussions from where a student can select a topic of their choice. On average, there are more than 200 discussions that take place every day on the platform.
Taran used to help JEE aspirants when he was in IIT Madras and supporting close to 50 aspirants to get closer to their dream of IIT; he realized the need for a platform for such students. This was when he decided to take the discussions online where the students can share the knowledge they have with each other, and this why he launched Melvano.
The challenges in the outset
In the initial days of his journey, he faced a lot of problems with the first one is finding a strong team that would work efficiently to build the platform. He started the platform when he was still an undergraduate in IIT Madras, so he had to juggle between the startup and his academics.
The result of this was that he failed in a few courses and had to repeat them later, but he decided to prioritize Melvano more. In his final years, his parents forced him to take the placements where he decided to go against them and declined the offer for a 22 LPA job. The edtech market is slow, highly competitive, and everything depends on the results. Establishing their name in a market where top players are using influencer marketing and spending big bucks on ads was a task, but they were able to gain the trust of the students.
The next challenge was one that is common with every startup – getting the early-stage investment, and luckily they managed to raise 30 lakhs for investments from renowned investors who were working at Facebook and from serial entrepreneurs because of the strong team from IIT Madras.
Collaborations and the first milestone
In conversation with TimesNext, Taran tells us that they are working with the Delhi Government to use their products in government schools. They are also trying to work with other edtech startups to add their discussions on the platform.
The first milestone for them came in 2018 when they won the HedNxt startup competition held by Chinese tech giant WPS Inc. Then they won the title of the Most Innovative startup with three lakhs cash prize, and their story was featured in The New Indian Express, Dainik Jagran and other leading media publications. They later received the Sri Chinmay Deodhar award by IIT Madras under the category of Innovative Project with Institute Silver Medal.
The current growth and vision for the company
With 41,000 users, the company aims to cross 2 lakh students by 2020 and 1 million students by 2021. With over 40,000 discussions on the platform and over 200 discussions taking place every day, the platform is witnessing a steady growth.
The wish to become the largest community of aspirants that share knowledge. Melvano is the largest knowledge-sharing platform that addresses the need to take peer discussions online.