WeMakeScholars: A Study Opportunities Search and Discovery Platform

Founded by Arjun R Krishna and Damini Mahajan in 2012, WeMakeScholars (WMS) is an online study opportunities search and discovery platform providing information on everything related to international education. The company holds a vision of connecting the world through education by providing the right opportunities.

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Genesis

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Speaking about the conception of this idea, Damini maintains- “The idea originated with the struggle we, cofounders had while searching for a scholarship for our masters in 2012. Later, Arjun received the prestigious UK Govt. Queen’s Jubilee Scholarship which fully funded his studies, including visa, airfare, tuition costs, and a monthly stipend. I received “Developing Solutions Master’s Scholarship” which covered 50 % tuition fee. This was when we started an online community to fill the gap between available opportunities and students knowing about it. The community quickly grew to 160K members in 2 years time. Upon request from these members, we decided to build a dedicated platform to keep data more organised & upto date. Hence, WeMakeScholars was born.”

Key Features of WeMakeScholars

In this case, there are majorly two types of stakeholders- One is the global student community, looking for higher education opportunities. They can search and shortlist right scholarship and internship opportunities. The startup is also working out to build a worldwide course database, making it easy for students to find the right courses of their interest.

And others are its customers including Universities, Consultants and Test preparation centers.

These Customers get:
-Genuine student data and analytics reports.
-Place to market to their rightmost target segment anywhere globally (students looking to study abroad)

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Problems Addressed by the Startup

Every year billions of dollars are provided as funding/Scholarships by Education Ministries of various countries, by Universities and trusts/foundations. But there is huge gap between this information reaching the students. Currently, WeMakeScholars is focussed on solving this problem by providing a global scholarship finder.

Wholly, for students it fulfills the need of a reliable source to get information for international education including scholarships, universities, courses and internships.

Technology

The company uses web technologies- PHP, AJAX, JS and HTML/ CSS to develop the platform. Features like email official, smart sorting and quick short listing of opportunities make the platform an easy to use resource for students and scholars.

Business Model

WeMakeScholars helps global student community in finding international education information, with main focus on Scholarships. The main value comes for user from the data quality and smart sorting features on the website. While being free for students, WeMakeScholars has clients such as educational consultants, test preparation service centres which offer services to this target market. These clients come on the portal mainly as advertisers.
Various universities around the globe are also its clients and they be a part of the platform to add, edit and advertise their scholarships.

Revenue Model
WeMakeScholars has always been and will always be free for its users, i.e. students. It makes money by selling various products to clients which comprises of Universities, consultants, test preparation centres and other advertisers globally.

Traction Details
Being a global platform, it is used by people from 210 countries worldwide. WeMakeScholars.com has been used by 357,000 unique users in first 5.5 months of its launch (29th April 2015- 13th October 2015), in the ratio- India (30 %), Pakistan (12.5%), United States (6.5%), Egypt (5%), Bangladesh (5%), Germany (4%) followed by Malaysia, Italy, Sweden and Myanmar (Burma) in top 10.

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It gets close to 1 million hits every month.

How is it Different from its Competitors?

It is a one stop solution for students who are looking for higher education globally. It has competitors in individual domains. For Scholarships, internships, courses, the platform provides global database with high accuracy. Its algorithm works on Smart Sorting function, wherein the user’s Nationality, subject of study, Degree & country of interest are used to find the right opportunity. Importantly, its concept creates the web for scholarships and courses, allowing to search courses based on scholarships and vice-versa. These are the factors which distinguishes WeMakeScholars from existing scholarship, internship or courses portals.

Status of Fund Raising

“We were keen on bootstrapping until a threshold traffic, so we turned down few funding offers earlier. Now, as we feel that we are ready for external funding, we are on our way to raise seed round from TBI, BITS-Pilani fund,” states Damini.

Scope and Opportunities

About 189 K and 694 K students from India and China respectively went for studying abroad in 2012. According to Forbes magazine, “On an average, a Chinese student pays $60,000-$70,000 just in the application process to study in US”. This is a very fast growing market wherein International education is gaining lot of traction. According to ICEF Monitor, there has been 25% rise in Indian students going abroad for degrees longer than 6 months just from 2013 to 2014.
“Stats being this, we aim to capture 5-10% of this market in the year 1.”-Damini

iamwire’s Take

Education is the most empowering asset a person could possess, and every individual by the virtue of their existence has the right to education. However, given the fact that most of the good universities have exorbitant tuition fees, many meritorious minds fail to avail of the opportunities, they deserve. Another factor that restricts candidates from receiving higher education from the best of institutions around the world, is the lack of awareness regarding the procedure of getting scholarships. Hence, platforms like WeMakeScholars could be of immense importance in bridging this knowledge gap between students and institutions.

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