An MBA from IIM(C), Santosh Rao is a part of the main team behind the ideation and creation of Vrixx Education Solutions Pvt. Ltd. One of the fourteen start-up businesses showcased in the sixth edition of Proto.in, Vrixx is all a net portal which aims towards improving the education system in our country. He took out some time on the event day for a short Q&A sessiosn with our team.
VP: Tell us a little more about Vrixx and the USP of this particular net portal?
Santosh Rao: Vrixx is a web portal for educational institutes. It is a cost-effective procedure which makes it ideal for student population. This particular service is available 24*7 online. It is a fact that each and every college has a dedicated portal. We are offering an opportunity for these institutes to have a portal which helps them stay better connected. No investment is solicited from institutes. Integrated solution is basically a mixture of academics, administration and communication in a software model. Alumnus is the biggest strength of a college and our model galvanises that strength to the fullest.
VP: What was your inspiration behind starting this particular venture?
Santosh Rao: Internet solutions group (student-faculty body) at IIM(Calcutta) using the intranet was the starting point. The product was taken out and we identified a potential based on surveys. Colleges across the country did not have a similar system in place and hence the idea took root. This enabled us to develop a State-of-the-art system. This particular venture is tailor-made for the Indian market since an average degree college does not want to invest the usual high prices charged at the initial stages of such ventures. We have a base instillation cost which makes the cost model suitable for them.
VP: What are your future plans for the business? Where do you seen yourself 5 years from now?
Santosh Rao: In India, education is concentrated on some hubs like NCR and the metropolitans. An extremely strong sales presence in all these areas is the target market. The immediate goal is to track the multiple touch points and hence grab mind space. We are trying to make the product educational standards compliant. 5 years from now we see our network at least 1500 colleges strong, which comprises of at least 20 percent of the total market segment. This would ensure us the largest network of colleges in India.
VP: How has the recent recession hit your particular Start up venture?
Santosh Rao: Education is a recession proof market. Education is where the government is focusing their attention. There is a threat of India becoming the youngest unemployed country by 2020. Thus the number of universities are said to double. This makes this particular sector a booming market. Thus our Start up is indifferent to recession. In fact it has helped in a way.
VP: What is the reason behind being a part of Proto.in? What are your expectations from this particular platform?
Santosh Rao: Proto.in is undoubted the biggest event for any Start up business. The immediate goal for being here is to get funding to support our scaling. The only expectations we have from Proto.in is to build contacts and network with fellow start ups and funding companies alike. Another immediate advantage of being a part of such an event is visibility, a necessity for growth.
VP: What would be your advice to other Start up business owners?
Santosh Rao: I would just like to say that it is a tough life indeed for any Start up business. You have to persist for a period of at least three years to achieve your dreams. Also, in the competitive world of today consumer research is imperative to stay one step ahead of your counterparts. This is extremely important for all Start up businessmen.
[Image courtesy: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_q49BoFc1Ow0/SRqrDUytGZI/AAAAAAAAAFc/m8xIOtnyDRU/s320/vrixx.png]