Year of Rebirth 2014Posted: January 9, 2015
You might be familiar with the legend about Phoenix. It burns itself and from the ashes a new life is born.
Sometimes complete destruction is necessary for an evolution to happen. We found it experientially rather the hard way out. Destruction is never easy, but sometimes imperative.
2014 has been that year of destruction and resurrection for Vedantu. We were almost on the verge of putting our shutters down. Toiling and persisting very hard with our enterprise model for almost 1.5 years things were not getting displaced, we had given ourselves time till March to see it through. Though things seemed very positive at the start of the year (it is always positive with Entrepreneurs as we are the most delusional of all). A lot of clients seemed interested in trying our product, but nothing materialized.
By March end we had exhausted enough resources, time and energies, it was a time to take a call.
We decided to follow the Phoenix legend. Instead of continuing and slowly perish we took drastic steps. We decided to close down everything and pivoted to an entirely new model. It was a very tough phase. We had to restore investor confidence who had invested their money and trust in us. Had to motivate the team which at that point was very low on morale due to lack of traction. We also had to let go of key team members to restructure the company and to make it lean, which again didn’t help the team morale. It took a huge toll mentally and financially to halt everything and to steer the ship in another way which had a momentum in a particular direction. At that moment we had no visibility as to how things will pan out and whether we will survive this or not. We clearly remember our heated discussion where we all converged on one thing – ” If this new vision and direction is what seems to hyper excite us and feels right inside, then it doesn’t matter if we perish trying to do the right thing” That was it.
So with new vigour, hope and direction we set out to create the new Vedantu. 13th of April was the day we took this decision and it shall be the foundation day of Vedantu.
As they say if you are on a right path everything conspires to make way for you. Things suddenly started moving and stuff started happening. We were able to close unexpected rounds of funding which gave us a runway. We will eternally be thankful to our Angels who have shown their trust in us and told us to be fearless and do what is right. We are super proud of our team which decided to trust us and our vision and decided stay on board.
This time we incorporated all the learnings from our previous (mis)ad-ventures and started very lean and applied all Lean Start-up concepts (God bless that book). We launched our initial very basic product as a closed Alpha and started testing out with a small set of users. Our biggest apprehension was – will people be able to study effectively online? We put on a board our fundamental Hypothesis which we wanted to test and went about answering them.
18th of July we had our first session on Vedantu. We were all glued to our screen and praying everything goes well :D. Well, one thing led to another and very soon we were having lot of happy students who absolutely loved the personalized experience and convenience they were getting on Vedantu. We started to see increased usage. So with the first question getting ticked off (Students find studying Online effective), the immediate next question was – will students find live 1-to-1 online learning mode good enough to pay for it? As my fellow edupreneurs would testify, getting someone to pay for Online education in India is a task in itself. We persisted and we got our first paid user on 24th Aug, Aishwarya (hey girl, you will be very special to us, All the best:-)
Things picked up from here, once our initial set of hypotheses were tested it was time to launch the product to a wider audience and so we started our second phase, to do a public beta launch. Many iterations and missed deadlines later (:D) we launched Vedantu to public on 26th Oct 2014. And, boy it was insane after that.
We started getting lots and lots of session requests, we also started experimenting with many marketing channels. Overall we started on a solid growth trajectory. From some 80 odd users in October end to around 2500 users by the year end. From some 200 hours at the time of public launch in October end to 1000 hours by December end – it was an awesome journey.
Let me take a moment to thank all my team members to have trusted and stayed on for this journey, to all our mentors and investors for placing your unwavering trust in us and especially to all our early users to trust us with the precious time of your children and believing in us. We will ever be thankful to you for without you Vedantu would cease to exit.
We are hyper confident about the change we aim to achieve. Vedantu believes learning should be personalized and centered around a student and we are here to make it happen. We strongly believe that we have started something which has the potential to fundamentally evolve the way students learn and teachers teach in future. We believe this is the start of a new category of Personalized LIVE 1-to-1 Online Tutoring and we will leave no stone unturned to make it happen.
Excited about the journey, excited about possibilities 🙂