AAI Edutourz Pvt. Ltd. is a New Delhi based startup company which incorporates education with travel to help students connect learning with life and transforming them as global citizens. They provide the students of Indian schools and colleges a lot many educational tours that fit their needs. Their tour itineraries are designed to stimulate intellectual curiosity, build character, develop leadership skills and enhance cultural sensitivity. Each itinerary includes comprehensive sightseeing tours that are designed to support your curriculum.
There are two founders of this startup: Sundeep Luthra – Founder and CEO and Amit Jyot Singh – Co-Founder and CEO. We are publishing an interview with Mr. Sundeep:
Please let us know about the founders:
Sundeep Luthra – After completing my masters in international business from Bristol business school, UK, I got an opportunity to work with Royal bank of Scotland for my initial years. However there was a constant urge to come my convey my home land and do something here. Alongside working with RBS I was also working with Bristol business school for some extra bucks. I was looking after the logistics for the students who were travelling to Bristol business school for summer corgis. This exposure gave birth to a germ that i can replicate the same business model of education travel in India. So I signed a contract with Bristol business school to send them students from India and came back to India. I started my business development here in the schools and colleges. After my initial struggle I got in touch with my elder brother.
Amit Jyot Singh – He was already working in the service industries with corporate at a very senior designation to join me. He liked the idea and we both joined hands together and thus of journey started almost 6 year back and today we are here still rearing to go all out to improvise and invent newer and innovative ways to expand our business.
Q.: What is the problem you are trying to solve?
Ans: Our initial research made us understand about this business model as more of a need than a problem. Travel is the best education one can have. So making the people understand the need and developed the awareness was a bigger challenge. It took us a while to convince people about the benefits and advantages of travelling. However now more and more people are conscious of the need of travelling therefore convincing people easier.
Q.: Can you share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem?
Ans: We ourselves are avid travellers, so the exposure of international education and its importance in today’s worlds made us realise that Indian students also deserve to stand on the same pedestal. This prompted us to bring this kind of a business model to India and take Indian students to an international level.
Q.: Tell us about the Product / Solution. Explain how you went about the Product-Market Fit Process?
Ans: The product is to organise International educational trips for Indian students from various educational institutions of India. The driver behind this is to expose our students to international cultures and making them global citizens. Like every business we also have to go through our fair share of ups and down. Our Initial research of meeting with almost 117 schools principal gave us a clear idea that this product has a ready market. So keeping this in mind various itineraries were designed to suit the requirements of the Indian students. Followed by extensive marketing and getting the feedback from students and teachers the products were amended and slowly we could find the takers.
Q.: What is your USP?
Ans: By and large our services are designed keeping in mind our end user. Security and comfort is our of prime importance. Education travel industry is highly based on emotions and we cannot afford to play with that part. So right from the time when our consumer leaves his door steps to the time he comeback, We make sure that the memories one comes back with stay with him and his loved one for a very long time.
Q.: What were your assumptions when you entered the market, learning that you have? Who in your mind is your ideal customer? Do you have at least one of them signed up?
Ans: We stepped into this industry without any preconceived notions but certainly with a definite plan. The plan was supported by well researched data which gave us a clear track to move on to. We were pretty sure if the success. The Learning is that we belong to service industry. We do not have anything tangible as a product that our clients can physically touch or feel. We cater to the emotions which are abstract so in nutshell if we are able to enhance the emotional quotient of our clients through a personal touch and give them sense of belonging ness while they being in a trip with us then I think we achieve our goal to a great extent that we had set out for. As an organisation into service industry we can not afford to define an ideal customer. For us anyone who payed for our services is as important as anyone. They are all equal in our words and deeds. So I guess it would be unfair for us to limit our customers in a definition.
Q.: What has been your biggest failure as an aontorpenure and what did u learn from it?
Ans: Failure and success are two sides of the same coin. Every time if a customer comes back unhappy is a failure for us. We make sure that similar mistakes are never repeated therefore there is a constant endeavour to improve our services.
Q.: How are you pricing the Product? What is the logic behind it? What is the model you are following – Free / Freemium / Premium etc. ? Explain your thought process.
Ans: One cannot go very far from the competition when it comes to pricing. Our constant thought is to give the right valuefor money to everyone who travels with us so our pricing is competitive and well within the range of customers who want quality services to be delivered.
Q.: How did you get your first customer?
Ans: Business development is the spinal cord of any business. So when we started off we got in touch with a lot of people who like our concept and were more than willing to extend their support. So the first business was procured through references of many such peoples.
Q.: Please tell us about the investors (if any)
Ans: No, we don’t have any investors as if now, but we are definitely looking for one for our digitalising our business.
Q.: Is there any interesting success story? If yes, please write about it. ?
Ans: The very first project that we did in itself gave us the confidence to tread on the entrepreneurial journey. It stilled a confidence in ya that we are in the right path. Company did a good revenue and perhaps that’s what lead us to carry on. I guess that’s a success in itself.
Q.: What is the big picture of your startup? Is this Product/service leading to something bigger? If so, how?
Ans: The bigger picture that we visualise is to make international travelling for all our clients and students a very easy process. We want to build a digital platform through which the schools across the globe could get interconnected and could self organise their trips to the country of their choice.
Q.: Since inception, give us a sense of the value of business done by your venture? What is the current turnover? (From Launching till date total no. of visitors on website/persons registered/enquiries and enrollment). Please explain in details:
Ans: Our topline is about 8 crores and we try an make about 900 students travel every year.
Q.: What is the insight that you have about this market, which no one else has? Uniqueness about your Startup.
Ans: Our experience tells us that the future of international education travel is extremely bright. It is growing at a pace which is 4 times faster than the leisure travel industry proportionately. So there could be no better news and no bigger insight for anyone who is a part of this industry.
Q.: List all the names of the core Team Members, along with their Designated Roles – How you see them evolving over time. What would be each of their Skillsets? – Elaborate also if any of the team members has a specific domain expertise.
Ans: Sundeep Luthra primarily looks after the backend operations and manages the finance of the company. When somebody does something over and over again for the reasonable long time then the professional improvement is bound to happen. Sundeep has evolved as a better finance manager who knows how to use the finances in further development of the Organisation. He is now a very sharp negotiator who has this ability to extract the best rates from international vendors for our Indian travelling counterparts.
Amit Jyot Singh primarily looks after Business Development that involves him in a lot of Indian and international travelling. He has developed as a keen businessman who know how to mirror the needs of his clients and develop itineraries which bespoke their needs. An uncanny knack of being a team person helps develop a very congenial environment in the organisation.
Dedicated work areas diminishes any chance of dispute between them. Suggestions are certainly welcomed however the final calls lies with the department head.
Q.: Who do You Perceive as Your Competition? How do you differentiate yourself with them?
Ans: Competition is something that cannot be avoided, regardless the size of the business, or industry and market in which it operates. Though we don’t have much competition currently, it doesn’t mean it will last forever and will not appear shortly.
Education Travel Industry is growing up fast and many big brands that are already established in Travel are adding this product in their bouquet. But being one of the pioneers and experienced, we will always have a higher hand.
Q.: What would be your goal to accomplish in the next six months?
Ans: Digitalising our business is the next step that we have to take and we have already started working in this direction. The Beta version of our application is on the way and very soon it will at the service of our clients. It will make the international education travel a process which could be managed with a touch of fidget.
Q.: What message do you want to convey to fellow entrepreneurs?
Ans: As an entrepreneur don’t get complacent and don’t look out for any external source of motivation. Listen to your heart and be abreast of what is happening around. Sooner or later success will follow.
Q.: Any other information you would like to share?
Ans: There is a long way to go so just persevere and keep treading.
Thanks Sundeep. Best wishes.