Edvizo is a edutech startup that aspires to re-invent India’s educational institutions via innovative technology. Edvizo was selected in Facebook’s startup programme. FbStart is a global program by Facebook designed to help startups build and grow their businesses.
About the Founder: Coming from a small village of Banka district of Bihar, Ravi Nishant had to go through several hardships to get access to proper education. He came to study in IIT Guwahati. Being a startup enthusiast, he worked with 6 startups in their early as well as mature stages. Passion for startup ideas motivated to bring this vision to life without wasting time. This enthusiasm drove him to the Silicon Valley of India, discontinuing his studies at IIT Guwahati in his pre-final year.
Excerpts of the interview
How did you get into working for startups right after dropping out?
Ravi Nishant: When I was in 2nd year, I decided not to go for any job and start something of my own, to work for the society. Keeping focused on the future plans, I had started a few initiatives in campus-like SWC, Viisaus (a media initiative), G-sec meter and Campus Wiki to give something back to the campus, to get real-life experiences and to do something out of the routine work. Although I failed in implementing two of the above ideas in a full-fledged manner, I can say I learned a lot from these initiatives. Being associated with six different startups on campus, I learned that sufficient research, clarity in vision and implementation part are keys for success in any startup. Having a great idea is just 5% part for any startup, 95% is the execution. Keeping that in mind, I have done the research for around 10 months. I visited many cities to know my actual customers and to take feedback/suggestions from them. Finally, in July 2017 I moved to Bangalore to start this company.
What made you drop out of IITG?
Ravi Nishant: There was not a single reason to stay on campus, but there were lots of reasons to leave the campus. Moreover, I was very clear with my vision and future plans. I have learnt a lot in the campus and it was the time to execute the same and need to learn from my real world successes/failures. As I’m part of this institute and will always remain, so for me, dropping out won’t mean I’m leaving the campus for forever, I’m just moving ahead from academics to corporate.
Are you getting any type of support from IITG junta?
Ravi Nishant: Officially I’m not getting any kind of support but on a personal level, I’m getting immense support and encouragement from IITG. Former director of IIT Guwahati Prof. Gautam Biswas Sir, Prof. Chandan Mahanta Sir, Prof. Saurabh Basu Sir, they are really helping us a lot. One of my best friends, Ayush Krishna, has been providing exceptional support to Edvizo from the beginning. Many seniors, admin staff, batchmates and juniors are coming forward and helping us a lot in whatever way they can. I can say without this support, Edvizo would not have reached this level and that too without raising a single round of funding.
What advice do you have for students who want to be entrepreneurs/get in the startup ecosystem?
Ravi Nishant: I personally believe that campus is the best place to start something new. There are many opportunities and resources available on the campus which you will not get once you come out of college. If some opportunity is not available on campus, then act like an entrepreneur and build them! As per my personal experience, I can say IITG is the most supporting institute where you can convert your ideas into reality, you just need to get yourself out of your comfort zone. I’m sharing a few points with you all which I feel I would have done during my college days:
Do a lot of Networking:In the initial phase, you will need a lot of support from people around you. Without their support, you won’t be able to survive for a long time in the market. Try to meet maximum people on campus and build a strong bonding with them. Spending time with your friends/partners is also important but don’t waste too much time doing parties every week. Join the entrepreneur cell as well as the incubation centre, they can help you find like-minded people with whom you can discuss your visions, as well as business advisers and alumni who can offer guidance to make your idea a reality. Make a professional relationship with the professors, have lunch with them, spend time with them by discussing your ideas and vision. Don’t be shy about meeting new people.
Try, Fail and Learn: Everyone has ideas but only a few can execute these ideas. Ideas are everywhere but being able to execute is a far greater skill that you need to succeed. Once you start working on your idea, you will get better insights about your sector. Don’t be afraid to share your ideas with others, it’s not a joke to copy and implement someone else’s idea. I strongly feel that everyone should start at least one startup during college days. This will help you explore yourself in depth. This will give you a basic understanding of how you work, what you need to improve on, and how much more you need to prepare yourself.
Everyone fails: It’s what we learn from our failures that teaches us what we need to be successful. Try to make enough mistakes while you are on campus. Gather as much information as you can, so when you step out into the “real world”, you’ll have the knowledge to sustain yourself in the competitive environment. I can tell, you will get a lot of rejection on campus than the outside world. Someone has said, “It is better to die trying, then to live never having tried at all”.
Take Risks, Make Sacrifices and Have Patience: You must have heard, risk-taking is almost synonymous with entrepreneurship. To start and support your own business, you’ll have to put your career, personal finances and even your mental health at stake. What I learned until now is becoming a successful entrepreneur requires an intense level of dedication to your dream – and this means sacrificing a lot of things to make it happen. There’s no such thing as an overnight success. Believe me, you will definitely encounter many people in your journey who will doubt your abilities. My only advice is to have patience, continue doing your work and let your success be your voice.
What is your fondest memory of college related to entrepreneurship?
Ravi Nishant: Just after a month of coming to IITG, I with one of my friends decided to work on an idea of selling sweatshirts to our batchmates. Together we designed the sweatshirt and mailed the design to all 650 students. In the first slot, we ordered only 50 sweatshirts although we had received more than 200 orders. Somehow, then VP and Gensec Welfare of Students’ Gymkhana came to know about this and asked us to meet them. As it was just a month of entering the college, we were not aware of the rules and regulations of using IITG name and logo on the t-shirt/sweatshirt. They told us we might get semester back or something big punishment in SDC. We literally got scared and requested them several times to allow us for that time as we had already placed the order. After that, we never ordered any t-shirt/sweatshirt with/without IITG Logo.
I have so many unforgettable moments in my college life. I remember while I was leaving college, I literally cried for continuously 3 days by remembering the old memories and I got a very high fever because of that. I was very much emotionally connected with the campus.
Interviewed by Aditya Chauhan, Senior Executive, Team Ecell, IIT Guwahati