Securing Your College Ticket The lack of awareness about the admissions process continues to exist in the country. A highly successful bootstrapped start-up, Gradvine, aims to ensure that students right from ninth grade until post-graduate students are aware of the opportunities out there and how to achieve the set goals

By Entrepreneur Staff

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Sreekar Sannapareddy and Suraj Peri, co-founders, Gradvine

Like many of us, Sreekar Sannapareddy and Suraj Peri concluded their engineering studies and then began pondering what they truly wanted to do. Alumni of the reputed Dartmouth and Carnegie Mellon University, respectively, the duo want to change the way career paths are thought about in India.

Luckily for them, Sannapareddy, after having been recognized as a Conrades Distinguished Fellow, came up with an entrepreneurial idea as a part of the process. "Thus Gradvine came up initially since Suraj & I wanted to solve the problem. Today we give access to a network of mentors from the finest universities and companies worldwide, across fields for students and aspirants to get one-onone guidance from," say Sreekar and Suraj.

The lack of awareness about the admissions process continues to exist in the country. A highly successful bootstrapped start-up, Gradvine, aims to ensure that students right from ninth grade until post-graduate students are aware of the opportunities out there and how to achieve the set goals.

Reddy and Peri gave wings to their idea with a mere INR five lakhs, with profits entering the picture in the third month itself! "We are not driven by the desire to sell & the students we serve are not a mere statistic. We want every person using our services to be enriched by the end. In fact, we lose sales because we suggest candidates not to pursue a certain path. Though they're willing to pay for application process guidance we've suggested they don't pursue the same as it might be bad for their career in the long term. Hence we request anyone breaking into this sector to have their heart in the right place and genuinely solve problems for students. If selling, profit & numbers are the only goal, one might end up doing more bad than good for students and their families," they share.

In terms of volume in the study abroad space, Gradvine is counted among the leaders. In fact, over 88 per cent of its customers come through referrals due to the quality of their work.

Talking about the challenges faced on entering the market, they share "At first the perception was a problem. We were asked by so many acquaintances "So you came back leaving 100 thousand dollar jobs to counsel kids?" No one could see the scale and the larger problem we were going to solve with our mentorship platform. Second, convincing students & their parents to trust an online platform was a problem, apart from the results we delivered, Covid proved to be a boost with physical face-to-face consulting setups shutting shop or losing business."

Gradvine is presently serving over 4000 customers a year, hailing from 21 countries and 24 Indian states, "100s of our students are from the IITs, NITs, BITS, IIITs."

The duo further adds "Most Indian parents want their kids to pick up skills and be good at something without fully understanding what opportunities the said skills open up. Getting them to explore with their children instead of jumping at certifications has been a challenge. This outlook is slowly changing."

Gradvine is focused on "career guidance, stream selection, college major/ degree selection for high schoolers. They have also tied up with multiple schools to enrol their 9-12 grade students in its career guidance and mentorship program. "We want Gradvine's mentorship program to be a default choice for all high school students and their parents at different stages when they have to make decisions that would dictate their future. We want them making informed decisions at each stage," the Gradvine founders conclude.

Entrepreneur Staff

Entrepreneur Staff

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