We are publishing an interview of Mr. Rahul Anand, Co-founder and Managing Director, BFactory Consultancy and Services Private Limited.
Please tell us about the founders
Bfactory was founded by Mr. Rahul Anand(PGDM 9-11, IIM Ahmedabad and BE CSE 05-09, BIT Mesra) and Mr. Kamlesh Chauhan(PGDM 9-11, IIM Ahmedabad and BTECH CSE 02-06, NIT Calicut). Rahul and Kamlesh started working in the coaching field in 2011 when they were in IIM. The gap between quality education provided in the coaching brands that exist in tier 2-3 cities and those that exist in tier-1 cities motivated them to set up a quality institution in tier 2-3 cities. After an initial round of secondary research, they selected and visited places like Baroda, Bhopal and Ranchi. East India seemed the apt market place with the gap they believed existed in many geographies in the country. The big coaching brands existed in Ranchi but the quality of education according to them was not at par with the same brands in a Delhi or a Hyderabad. They started taking some mock placement and CAT classes in Ranchi on a freelance basis in 2011 end. They used to take guest lectures on different marketing and operations topics at BBA and MBA colleges in the city to meet ends. With the pilot results, they felt that the gap existed and the customers were willing to pay for filling that gap. They started B-Factory in 2012 mid. Rahul, who had worked in companies like Colgate Palmolive and Cadbury in the marketing roles before and Kamlesh who had worked in IT-Marketing and consultancy roles in companies like Wipro, Cognizant and Pokarna had personal savings to set up the institute and run it for a couple of months. They bootstrapped the venture and get set go with one office executive on board with them.
What is the problem you are trying to solve? Can you share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem?
We are trying to provide far improved higher education preparation standards in small towns in East India. Very good teachers do not teach at institutes in a city like Ranchi because they do not get promising systems that can nurture their growth. The biggest challenge is to bring and sustain good talent into small cities. Once this is overcome, the results will improve in these small cities. We have bridged this gap with our brand. We have created and sustained a reputation which draws best minds to us now!
The number of students with work experience from colleges like BIT Mesra(Ranchi) who go to an IIM is far more than those who enter fresh from college. One major reason behind this(amongst other reasons) was that there were no good systems in place to create a culture of cracking a top B school in the first try as a fresher. On the contrary a very strong culture existed in colleges like DCE, NSIT, BITS Pilani and IITs. There were clear indications that very soon colleges like BIT Mesra and NIT Jamshedpur will join the main league with new and new IIMs coming. With no quality provider in the market, there was a clear gap. We jumped in.
To quite an extent, the culture has changed. The older big brand institutes in town have been doing their bit, but we have added quite some spice to the meal. Many fresh engineers have been joining IIMs and other top colleges from Ranchi now.
What is the uniqueness about your Startup?
We are academicians at the core and have created unique training methodologies to improve aptitude learning. We are CAT qualified folks training for aptitude and soft skills. We have seen the phases as students as well as teachers. We have realized that students do not crack IIMs, experts do. We have built an aptitude training pedagogy called TWIN METHOD training. An expert is different from a student in a way that an expert can approach a question in more than one way. This is called MIND TONING which opens the mind. We train students to open their mind by learning two approaches to problem solving. The alternate method might suit some students, might not suit some others. This is the most important thing in learning. The mind should have options to exercise. This makes the learning process more intellect driven than memory based. This has been a revolutionary model in aptitude training and has been pivotal in establishing our coaching brand. We have managed to successfully monitor growth in students’ performances from their raw levels to vastly improved levels.
What is the revenue model? What is the logic behind it? What is the model you are following – Free / Freemium / Premium etc. ? Explain your thought process.
We follow both B2C and B2B models. We offer courses for MBA entrance examinations like CAT-XAT to students directly. These are courses ranging from 6 months to 2 years. Students pay the coaching fee for the same. We also run some lower priced online webinar courses for outstation students. These are again B2C in nature and have an upfront fee. We give B2B deals to colleges looking for placement training contracts. The college pays on session basis in such cases. We have conducted such B2B sessions for BE(all streams) students, MBA students, BBA and BCA students across 3 different colleges in Ranchi and Jamshedpur cities in Jharkhand. We also conduct many free learning webinars and social media sessions.
Who are the consumers that you are targeting? How is this going to affect them?
Consumers are students preparing for MBA/PGDM entrance exams and those preparing for campus placements. Those students who never had an option to get excellent higher education guides and trainers, but wanted such support to take their careers further. Our unique training modules have benefited thousands of students till now. More than 1500 of our trained students have got placements and hundreds have joined top B schools in the country. Our personal mentoring and career guidance has helped students take better career decisions. Since our methodology is about bringing the best teachers to small cities(using our brand), we have been able to scale quality education. This is what makes us a proud and competent training set up. We conduct a program called Personal Mentorship Program(PMP) through which every student is assigned an IIM alumni mentor. This mentor interacts with the student every 2 months and keeps a track of his or her progress. We have been able to create an ecosystem where mentees get mentors and the scale gets managed.
What is the big picture of your startup? Will it lead to something bigger? If so, how?
We have ventured into edu tech for placements. Being in campus placement training for 5 years now, we find tremendous scope in providing a complete coaching for placement training. We have created a unique product concept, built a founding team and are now in the concept validation phase. This is the next big thing coming from our expert R&D team. We aim at solving the soft skill and technical placement preparation issues on a large scale which will solve the huge employment demand versus employable youth supply gap.
What is the success story of your startup in your own words?
The biggest challenge was to make people trust in a brand that started in a small town. Surprising as it may sound, people in small towns very easily trust brands from big cities but have doubts when people start in their own town or similar towns. This was the first hurdle. People suggested that we should open a small branch in Delhi and then call ourselves national. We never went for such fake things. We stuck to Ranchi as our head office. With time we managed to build a reputation in the city and in more places around. We could make a good reputation mainly because of the Public Relations handling on social media and events and seminars conducted by the co-founders. With time, we managed to take self run coaching classes in Jamshedpur and franchise based in Vizag. We also took placement classes in Jamshedpur. We have excelled till now because of one main reason, “We have never compromised on teaching quality. We have hired managers for business handling not compromising on our time for teaching”.
Today our teaching unit includes two IIM Ahmedabad graduates, graduates from NIT Trichy, BIT Mesra, Barkatullah University Bhopal. XISS Ranchi among others. Many IITians have joined us in various projects and research assignments. We have a total team size of 20 now and have trained approximately 6000+ students(paid courses). We have also trained approximately 8000+ students via free seminars and webinars. We also run social media groups and pages where we provide free online guidance to career aspirants. Our social media counselling reach is approximately 50,000+. The whole unit works day in and out to provide rich and informative content to aspirants all over the country. It is just a beginning and we are enjoying our work as mentors. We will spread our mode of training and mentoring pan India soon.
Any other information about your startup that you would like to share with us.
Being a place of academic excellence, we have built a culture of social belonging as well. We conduct 4 social camps every year and call for students and teachers to donate to the people in need. Blood donation camp, stationery donation camp, cloth donation camp and career counselling camp are done every year. Hundreds of students participate and learn the importance of giving. As an institute, we also provide free education on case basis to students who cannot afford coaching but are genuine in their desire for learning. There have been instance of students who have got 50% to 100% fee scholarships and have converted top B schools including IIMs. We also bear the education cost of every office and sales executive level staff. Complete primary to high school fee of the staff’s children is borne by the company. We take pride in our initiatives, our rising team and in our students.
Thanks Rahul. Best of luck!