It all started when GATE 2014 Results were out and Ankit Goyal topped GATE 2014 EE! It was actually quite surprising when Ankit couldn’t top the exam in 2013 (he stood 8th in the country). I called Ankit and congratulated him on the day results were out (28thMarch 2014). At that time I was on a trip to Rishikesh with my other college mates. A couple of days after the results, Ankit called me and we discussed about the current scenario in the GATE market, the quality of content being provided by the existing players and what can be done in order to solve this problem. Since I was still on my trip, we couldn’t discuss much about it and decided to continue the discussion after I reached Mumbai.
It was the first week of April and serious discussion start as to what can be done to enter into GATE market and how could we possibly leverage the brand name of Ankit Goyal after he secured a single digit rank twice in a row. Friend Requests were pouring on Facebook which prompted Ankit to create a Group on Facebook by the name of ‘GATE Aspirants’. Many students were already expecting a lot of help from Ankit. This incident only compelled us to speed up the process and we decided to purchase a domain name. Now, naming a company/brand name is a tricky business. Nowadays you have to check out the domain availability first and then decide your name. Our case was no different. We tried to merge 2-3 keywords and finally ended up choosing Creativity and Matrix (in context to 3X3 Performance-Potential matrix) and this was the birth of the name Kreatryx (We have worked really hard to find out how to justify the meaning of our name!). Our first website (parallax) was up on 15thApril.
Ankit started preparing the GATE 2014 Solutions and we uploaded the Solutions on 20th April 2014. We were the first ones to upload the solutions (accurate and otherwise). We also started our Blog by the month end and started writing some helpful articles for the GATE 2015 Aspirants. We were able to get some initial traction on Blog and our FB Group ‘GATE Aspirants’.
One important point to note is that both of us hadn’t quit our day jobs yet. Ankit was still working at Qualcomm in Bangalore and I was working at Plancess (e-learning start-up) in Mumbai. We decided to meet in Bangalore and finalize things. At that time coincidentally a start-up conference was also scheduled in Bangalore which both of us attended to get an insight into how a start-up works. We were able to chalk out a rough business model which initially included tie-ups with colleges and using their infrastructure to conduct our Classroom Program. We selected Ghaziabad as the location to start with as the maximum number of GATE Aspirants appeared from NCR and moreover Ghaziabad had many engineering colleges.
We started fixing meetings in colleges of Ghaziabad, Noida and New Delhi. We did not get much support from them and hence decided to launch our own coaching classes in Ghaziabad from 13thJuly 2014.
By July end Rahul Kushwah (B.Tech., IIT Indore and Ankit’s roommate for 4 years in college) joined with us as EE subject matter expert. We also got an ECE expert as well to work with us. By August we had a batch of only 9 students!
In September we conducted a couple of seminars in colleges of Ghaziabad to motivate GATE Aspirants and promote our Klassroom Program. Students had already joined other institutes by this time so we planned to launch Krash 2015 Offline Program and started preparing the course material.
After a survey about the Krash 2015 Offline Program, we got a very poor response and so we had to pivot and the obvious solution was to launch an Online Krash 2015 Program instead. Many students from South India had already shown interest in such a program if started by us.
We were able to start our Krash 2015 Online Program on 24th November 2014. We were very excited about it and to our surprise we got a very impressive response from the students from all over the country. This course was designed based on Ankit’s GATE preparation strategy which involved boosting the preparation in the last months of GATE preparation. We observed that no such solution was available to the students which can help them during the final few months. So, in this course we provided them with short notes and practice problems. This attracted a lot of students and most of them found it really helpful (maybe because we gave it for free!).
After launching the program we got more than 1000 registrations within a span of 3 weeks and it took us by surprise seeing that such a vast number of students were aware about our initiative without any marketing. Seeing this potential we wanted to go big next year and wanted to give our company’s strategy a progressive direction. At this point we were sure that we have the potential to make it big. We just needed to plan our products in such a manner that they can solve the problem faced by majority of students across the country. So, we got Nipun Gupta (B.Tech., IIT Roorkee) on board as a business advisor cum mentor who knew me from the time when I worked at Plancess. In fact he was the one who hired me there!
We decided that we will focus solely on Electrical Engineering for this year. Then we scheduled some meetings with Nipun to finalize what products can be launched for GATE 2016 preparation and came up with an idea to launch a one-stop online GATE preparation portal so that every need of the student is taken care of at a single place.
So, we planned a total of 5 courses to be launched for GATE 2016 preparation. The biggest challenge that lied ahead of us was to create the course material at a rapid speed without compromising on the quality. By the month of January we had over 2500 registration for our Krash Program so we were really motivated to take up the mantle to create the material and launch our paid products for next year.
Then GATE exam was then conducted in the month of February and this time GATE authorities released the question papers just after the exam. We were pretty sure that students would be looking for reliable and quick solutions for GATE 2015 exam. So, we tried to provide the best possible solutions for GATE 2015 exam. Many students promoted our solutions on different portals without us being even aware about it and this step was highly appreciated by the students. In the same month we started gearing up for GATE 2016 courses so we started the development of our online product (Kapsule) and also launched Klassroom 2016 batch. We were really hoping for a much better response this time.
But we were let down as only 6-7 students joined our Klassroom course and we had to find a way to increase the number of students. Though we were aware that major strength of GATE Aspirants start their preparation from the month of July but this was really a setback. This further motivated us to do really well in our Online Product as we now had only one lifeline left.
In the month of March, the much awaited GATE 2015 results were released and to our surprise one of our students, Pradeep Seervi obtained AIR-1 and we had 9 rankers in Top-100 and 30+ rankers in Top-1000. That day marked the success of Krash 2015 Program and established Kreatryx as a trusted name in GATE preparation market. We then published exclusive interviews of two of our Top Rankers Pradeep Seervi (AIR-1) and Rajarshi Bhattacharya (AIR-55). Since then, we started getting more requests from student community for GATE content. This further motivated us to do well in GATE 2016 courses.
In the next month, we launched our new website announcing all the courses that we planned for GATE 2016 preparation. So, each of our products was highly anticipated by student community. We started getting lot of queries regarding the launch date for each of our products and the feature set of different products. This encouraged us to give more than 100% and pull in the scheduled dates for launch of each of our products.
At the same time our free services like our Blog – ”GATE Guru”, YouTube Channel and FB group were being highly appreciated by student community as they were able to give their GATE preparation a direction and also discuss their doubts with each other. The FB group was also proving to be a great place for us to interact with our students so that we can encourage them to do well, guide and motivate them as well as make them aware about our new products. So, in the month of April our FB group crossed the mark of 30,000 members and till date it is most active GATE discussion group with no advertisements (except ours! :P).
Now we have around 35 students in our Klassroom Course at present and these students have trusted us and moved to Ghaziabad from different parts of country like Kanpur, Bihar and Jammu and Kashmir. Same was the case with the launch of our first ever Postal Course “Koncept 2016” and till date we have been able to ship more than 62 orders in the span of three weeks.
Next up was Kapsule, India’s first ever one-stop Online GATE Preparation Portal and we introduced several plans at different prices to cater to the needs of different student groups. The free plan (Deca) was very much appreciated and we saw more than 400 registrations within the first four days of launch.
We then went on to start our paid plans (Giga, Tera & Zetta) as well and we are now so happy to see the overwhelming response by the users. We are working with our early users to make the product more robust and hoping the same kind of response for Krash 2016 and K-Test 2016!