In the third part of Inspiring Barrier Breakers, we brought to you Tutoring D Street - a company that was launched last year to teach the formulae of Microsoft Excel to the masses. Today the company has earned the name and fame in the market and climbing the success ladder. The two founders,Rajat Singhal and Abhinav Verma are former Wall Street investment bankers. Both had more than five years of experience in training employees on Wall Street, in colleges abroad, and in Indian corporations before setting up this venture. They met in Merrill Lynch in 2006 and were roommates in New York for two years. Let's get to know more about their venture-Tutoring D Street from them.
- Q. How did you identify the business prospect?
Early last year, we realized that there is dearth of training and direction for business professionals and students in India. Enriched with thousands of hours of global training and practical experience at firms like Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Macquarie Securities, SBI Capital Markets and GE Capital,
we envisioned a need to train students and professionals with what they believed is the most underutilized tool in India - Microsoft Excel. Through workshops, we wanted to bridge the inherent gap between ‘Classroom Theory’ and ‘Real-World Practicality.’ In order to accomplish this goal, Tutoring "D" Street (“TDS”) was created. Through our thoroughly thought out, custom-made training programs, we aspire to change the way masses approach Microsoft Excel and its various functionalities. TDS currently provides the cheapest and quickest Excel training workshops in the country.
- Q. In the midst of so many computer teaching/learning institutes-how is Tutoring “D” Street different? How unique is your service?
We believe in what we call ‘Efficient Learning.’ We believe 3-6 month courses are impasse and no one has the time and attention span today to go through such old school courses. Thus, we currently provide the "cheapest" and "quickest" Excel workshops in the country. Having said that, we do not compromise on the quality of training. Our training content is delivered to individuals through workshops and to corporates through in-house training programs. Our programs have the following advantages: a) We provide teaching through case studies and real-life examples. We believe less in theory and more in practice. For example, our M&A course is taught with a case study of Bharti’s acquisition of Zain. That way, we force our students to think like the protagonist as they learn to conduct analysis in Excel. Very few companies focus on this type of training.
b) We cater to not only IT and Finance professionals, but to customers from all walks of life. Our training content is customized to the needs of our client.
c) As an after-sales service, we provide a 24X7 Excel Hotline to all our registered members. This enables them to call us at any time if they have an Excel related question. Currently, no other Educational institute in India offers this facility to students.
- Q. In this respect, how do you classify your target customers? Who are your target customers? How do you reach them?
We have taught high school students, college students, working professionals and the unemployed. Having said that, the most lucrative section of our customers and where we get the most demand from are 19 – 30 yr olds consisting of new employees / professionals and those who are looking to get a job.
We reach our customers through a variety of sales channels:
a) Use of SMS and Email Marketing
b) SMO Marketing: Use of Facebook / YouTube
/ Twitter to convert fans into potential clients
c) We increase presence in colleges through participation in College Fests andOn-campus marketing
d) We are in the process of selling workshops through tie-ups with other companies that cater to a similar client demographic (19-35 yr olds)
- Q. Responses so far?
Response so far has been very encouraging. The fact that “more than 80% of our workshop clients sign-up through referrals” is testament to the fact that our clients are very impressed with our training program. We have a dedicated 10-min feedback session in every workshop and below are some of
the feedback we have received:
a) “The instructors are very well-versed and patient. In the workshop, they
made sure we practised each formula to the core”
b) “The best part about TDS workshops is that they are taught with examples
and case studies. This way I could really connect with the course content and master it”
- Q. What is your Business Model?
We have a very simple business model. We conduct weekly workshops for individuals at various locations in Delhi-NCR and partner with corporations to design a training curriculum and teach their current and new employees. Training agreements with corporations help us secure recurring revenues.
Our main costs are incurred in the delivery of content at various centers and we believe our greatest assets are our teaching style, training content and
- Q. Don’t you think tier II and tier III cities have more for you than tier I cities?
We started in Delhi-NCR to test the markets and establish credibility. Since we cater to a wide spectrum of students, we see more demand from Tier II and Tier III cities, where people are more price-sensitive and the gap between ‘theory’ and the ‘real-life practicality’ is more inherent. Next fiscal year, we plan to build a franchisee model to cater to clients in other Indian Cities. We are in talks with a leading franchise development consulting firm in this regard.
- Q. How do you rate DARE’s initiative as constantly providing platform to entrepreneurs?
We think DARE is doing an excellent job in building a productive ecosystem for entrepreneurs and investors. Very few publishers have the network and fan following that DARE has garnered in the past. We, at TDS, are avid followers of DARE and think it does a great job of not only informing young
entrepreneurs of latest news, business strategies and models, but also providing tools and guiding them along the way in scaling up their ventures.
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