Minal Anand, Founder & CEO of Guruq, one of the fastest growing online education platforms, recently interacted with NewsX as part of its special series NewsX India A-List. Minal spoke about Guruq, what it does as well as online education and entrepreneurship.
Talking about Guruq and what sets it apart from other online learning platforms and ed-tech companies, Minal said, “Guruq is essentially a platform that connects students with the best tutors. We have tutors for school education, competitive exams, for study abroad and language learning. So, we essentially have tutors and cover the entire spectrum of learning that a student may have. How Guruq is different from every other platform is because, on Guruq, the student decides how they want to learn, what they want to learn, when they want to learn and whom they want to learn from and how much they want to pay. So, it’s essentially a platform built for the students, for the parents and for the tutors. We don’t impose our will on students about how they should study, what they should study and where they should study. If you want to study online, you want to study at home, you want to study in a particular budget and the way you want to study, it completely replicates the real-world scenarios. We’re not putting our will, please study in this manner or use this curriculum or study in this structure. It completely replicates real-world scenario”.
Striking a balance between affordability, accessibility and quality education while facing challenges in 2020, Minal told us, “2020 essentially I think, has been a fabulous year for the Ed-tech industry because prior to ed-tech, the complete focus in terms of education was offline. Online, even if it was there, people did not want to use it, they did not want to accept it. What Covid really did was, it brought online learning to the forefront. Now Guruq is a platform where we provide home tutoring and online tutoring but prior to Covid, we had essentially no demand for online tutoring. Everyone wanted a home tutor, so what Covid did was, it brought online tutoring and learning to the forefront and it sort of forced parents and students to accept the benefits of online education.”
Minal added, “I think for us, Guruq, we were always prepared, we always had a hybrid model, we always had the option of home and online. So, it didn’t really affect us that much because we always offered both. What happened for us is that it was a complete shift to online versus home but essentially it did not really affect our business, in fact, it only catapulted our business because we went from being a platform that was essentially focusing on home tutoring in Delhi, Punjab and Haryana, to a platform that is now prevalent pan India and we have tutors from across India, teaching students from across India”.
Speaking about the first round of funding and plans of expansion for Guruq, Minal said, “We are in the process of our funding round, for the first funding round. We’re completely bootstrapped till now and completely self-funded. So now, we are going out for external funding and hopefully, in the near future, you should hear more about it from us. Expansion, yes, as I said earlier we were focused on home tutoring, we were gradually expanding within India but what Covid did was, it catapulted us to offer our products and services across India, overnight. We expanded pan-India, overnight due to online coming to the forefront. Hence, expansion is going to continue, we’re going to keep scaling to tier one, tier two, tier three cities and make sure that we have operations in all cities and of course, if the eventual plan is global expansion because our goal is to teachers from across the world, teaching students from across the world, keeping in mind the affordability and accessibility because tutors present internationally, in the UK or US, they’re very expensive. Tutors in India and regions like ours are very affordable compared to tutors in the western world. So yes, we do have great expansion plans both nationally and internationally”.
Guruq is launching its new app soon. Talking about the difference from the previous one and details for the upcoming app, Minal said, “Our new mobile app, the new version is launching next week and it is literally a 15x version of what the current app is. It’s a complete game-changer, the UI, UX is 15 times, if not better than what it is currently. It’s easier to use, more accessible, students will be able to find tutors more easily, they’ll be able to make the choice more easily. It’s a very, very big upgrade that is coming and there is going to be a huge, huge jump from the current system that there is. It’s going to be available on the iOS store as well as the Playstore. We hope to launch it at the end of this week”.
Minal spoke about her biggest achievement in the past three years. She said, “I always say this, my biggest achievement is always when students or parents or tutors reach out to me and now the world is so seamless, that I have parents and students and tutors reaching out on Instagram, on LinkedIn all the time. For me, that is the happiest moment, when I get that appreciation. I had a teacher reach out to me, who was a housewife, recently and she sent me this long message on Instagram about how joining Guruq changed her life and her family’s perception of her at home. Her mother-in-law and her husband respect her so much that now, not only is she bringing in income but she’s now a teacher and teaches students, so her respect level, in her own house has improved and increased. To me, that’s the biggest compliment because that means that I’ve directly made a difference in someone’s life. When I get to hear feedback from students and parents about how Guruq has impacted their life or the positive difference that we’ve made, for me that is my biggest achievement. No award, nothing can match up to that feedback you get”.
Lastly, Minal talked about making the switch from a corporate job to entrepreneurship and her advice to young women who wished to take the leap of faith was, “I always tell all entrepreneurs this, for me personally, I love working. I wake up every day to work, if I didn’t have something that I was motivated for and working towards, my life wouldn’t be fulfilled. Having your own company, starting something from scratch and seeing it develop, it’s almost like having a child and making them grow and nurturing them. Having a business is very similar to that in a way. I would always tell women that please, if you can raise a child, that’s probably the biggest thing you can do, starting a company is much easier than raising a child. So, I always push women to go out, to reach for the stars because we can do everything we put our mind to. Nothing is impossible if we make the most of everything opportunity that’s given to us and we work hard. Honestly, persistence is key, if you don’t persist, persevere and keep doing it every single day, because nobody’s life is perfect and every day is not going to go the way you hope, you have bad and good days but you have to remember what’s important and the goal at hand. If you really want to achieve something, you really can and I think what Covid has taught us is that, don’t wait and don’t think about it too much. If you have an idea and you think you can do it, just go out and do it. What’s the worst that can happen, if you don’t try it, you’ll never know. So, I always say that please try, once you try and you really believe in your idea then please give it your 100% because we all deserve to have everything we can in life”.