From 1 lakh to 3 million users and valuation of Rs 1,250 cr in 3 years: How this startup has done it

startup, startup india, ed-tech platform, indian ed-tech catalyst
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India has a fast-growing startup ecosystem, thanks to the young talents and policies that are in place. Their stories and journey from scratch to becoming unicorns are inspiring and encouraging. In 2022, India has the third largest start-up ecosystem in the world with over 65,000 recognised ventures. During the Covid-induced lockdown, several startups rose to fame with their disruptive business ideas and with the right use of technology, startups today are raking in millions of dollars in funding and witnessing a massive surge in valuation. One among them is Catalyst. It is an ed-tech platform that has grown by leaps and marked its presence felt in the industry in a very short period.

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Established in 2017 by Akhand Swaroop, who worked as an Indian Engineering Services (IES) Officer, the journey of Catalyst has been very interesting. Today, the company’s valuation stands at Rs 1250 crore. It has also seen a massive rise in the userbase from 1 lakh to 3 million in just 3 years, all credit to the business brain behind Catalyst. The Noida based startup was set up with the purpose to provide easy access to education to all sections of students. Run by a batter of experts ranging from civil servants, senior professors, authors, senior professionals, the objective is to make education available to everyone and to guide aspirants in a smart way so that they can achieve their goals and fulfill their dreams with quality preparation.

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According to Akhand, he started Catalyst to mentor aspirants of civil engineering, IES, GATE and many more government examinations. He said that students struggle when they appear in government exams or any other as they don’t get proper guidance and relevant study material. The lack of guidance urged him to intervene and do something.

Speaking about the business model, Akhand said he started with 100 students in 2017 and in a few months the strength increased to 1000. It was then he started charging a small fee to keep the business running. With the quality materials reaching students, the user base grew to 1 lakh paid users.

“Between 2019 to 2022, the number of students reached from 1 lakh to 3 million with a valuation of Rs 1250 crore,” he said.

Catalyst’s business model caught the attention of many multinationals and fund raising groups. With the changing times and the right use of technology, Catalyst introduced required changes at regular intervals in its business and reached out to the students to understand their needs which helped it to cement its position in the highly competitive market.

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On the revenue model, he said that the faculties with over 30 years of experience and affordable fee structure provide high quality courses and reach the core and root areas of the country i.e Tier-1 and tier-2 cities.

“There are three things that separate Catalyst from others – quality; experienced faculties and affordable fee structure. Today students find it difficult to get all three things together as a combined package and his what makes Catalyst different from others,” he said.

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Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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