Aim High Educational Services is a platform which provides free downloadable study material by connecting students with their favourite brands and future employers! Sounds a bit different right? Most of the students spend so much money on study material and project work that they are hardly left with a few pennies to eat a roadside vada pav. In such a case splurging on brands is out of the question. So how can students study and connect with brands? That’s what Aim High is here for. Startoholics caught up with the founder of Aim High, Khaleel Khan. Here’s an excerpt from the interview.
Tell us a bit about your background and how it all started – where did your vision for Aim High come from?
I completed my B.E in Information Science from BMS College of Engineering. During engineering, most of us would refer to textbooks from college library and would rely heavily on professor notes and solved papers to clear our exams. Also, we preferred these notes as they were easier to understand and helped us save some pennies which would be utilized for fuel, movies and hanging-out! A few months ago, I came across one such photocopied “Operating System” notes while cleaning the cupboard.
I’m also the co-founder of BlueCouch, which is a B2B experiential rewards agency and where we deal with brands and employers for their consumer/ employee engagement programs. From what we see, a majority of the brands wish to target the lucrative student expenditure market (estimated to be a whopping $40 billion market in India). At the same time, employers wish to build brand awareness and engage with their prospective employees (which helps them get the best candidates during campus placements!)
This made me realize that there was a clear need for a platform which would benefit all the stakeholders – students, professors, brands and employers!
How does it work? What features are offered?
- Free educational e-books for Engineering and MBA Entrance Preparation
- Job Search
- Vacation Planner site
What is the biggest hurdle you have faced or are still facing?
Even to this day, most of the brands engage with students mainly via indirect methods such as fest sponsorships, pamphlet distribution outside colleges and other traditional ways which are not only costly but also ineffective in tracking their ROI. Convincing the brands to adapt a new digital medium – to reach out to students directly has been the biggest hurdle as they are accustomed to traditional methods to target this audience.
Who would you say is your biggest competitor?
Currently, there are no direct competitors – as all our study material is completely free to the students. However, there are a few student forums which provide a platform to exchange notes which might slightly impact downloads on our portal. Also, there are quite a few study guides available at bookstores – but they do burn a hole in the students’ pockets!
Has Aim High got the feedback and growth you expected since launch?
Oh yes! In just a couple of months of launch, we have over 11 renowned brands as our advertisers. As of 1st Jan, we have over 62,500 + subscribers and over 1,86,000 + eBook downloads. Our current portfolio includes free solved papers for First Year Engineering in Karnataka and MBA Exam Preparation for CAT, XAT and SNAP
Do you have any new features in the pipeline?
In a couple of weeks, we will be rolling out free study material for PUC (Science) and Interview preparation for final year engineering students. Also, we will be adding new features to our portal which would help students with their internships, projects and career-related services. We will soon be launching ‘fun zone’ with exciting contests, games and trivia for the students.
How have you sustained your business? What are the revenue streams you rely on?
We have invested our savings and have been quite smart and lean in resource utilization for our business – with a core team capable of portal development, ad sales management and publishing. The major revenue stream is from the e-book ads placed by our partners. We also have a couple of affiliate programs which provide a secondary source of income. We have a scalable business model and would seek funds from investors in the coming months to take the business to the next level.
What one piece of advice would you give to soon to be startup founders?
My two cents: “Trust your instincts. Take the leap. Aim High!”
Right from downloading educational eBooks to planning your vacation time to preparing for the future, this website certainly wants you to Aim High; and all this for free. So all Engineering and MBA aspirants do make sure you give this website a look and we hope it helps you plan your future. Also, don’t forget to share this article with your friends and classmates that are struggling for notes and books! Wish you luck for the future!