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Astha Gandhi, Co-Founder at Grab Guidance Services LLP

Great Companies: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?

Astha Gandhi: I, Astha Gandhi (Founder, GrabGuidance), and my Husband, Dr. Himanshu Puri (Chief Consultant, GrabGuidance) have been dedicatedly working in the education sector for almost all our career life. I have been a visiting professor since the beginning of my career with 10+ years of experience in teaching students of Delhi University, Mumbai University and many other institutions. Himanshu have also been into hardcore education by being the Asst. Prof with many B Schools and universities in Delhi/NCR before moving to work with today's Edtech giant UpGrad during its initial days in 2015-2017. After that, he has been into building Legal Tech and Edtech Products since then.

Our in-depth understanding of the education and edtech sector, analysis of the problems and needs of our students along with issues faced by colleague teachers and professors led to the birth of GrabGuidance. We always knew that students always have this problem of not having instant and quick support for doubts when doing the self study. Expert teachers on the other side are always wanting to market themselves and earn more. We thought to connect both these students and teachers live on one on one basis through our tech platform on an instant basis for as short as a single query.

Today, we have a one click solution to get food or cab. But what about a one click solution to reach a live teacher solving even 1 query instantly when needed from anywhere online.

Great Companies: What are the various services provided by GrabGuidance (Grab Guidance Services LLP)

Astha Gandhi: Our portal has built a tech system to connect students with teachers of their choice for any academic or career guidance. It's a uber/zomato like platform to book a live 1:1 online session instantly from anywhere for as short as 20 mins solving student's single query too. The portal provides academic and career assistance for class 8th to class 12th school students along with catering to undergraduate and postgraduate commerce and management students.

We have also launched one of its kind short term and 1:1 live skill based courses on skills such as entrepreneurship, digital marketing, financial modelling, investment banking, soft skills etc..

We also have specialized 1:1 online career guidance and counselling packages to provide the right path to the upcoming generation. The same offerings we are able to give to the students for any school, colleges and universities as our client too.

Great Companies: What makes GrabGuidance (Grab Guidance Services LLP) different from hundreds of other similar service providers?

Astha Gandhi:

The whole edtech sector is bombarded with the recorded educational content or the subscription model based live tutoring online classes offered by many big unicorn giants in the sector. GrabGuidance never wants to get into that model and hence, never intends to compete with them. We are in fact targeting to tap the rest 3/4th of the market who do not subscribe to these online classes but rather have so many academic and career doubts on a daily basis to get support for.

GrabGuidance solves for them in a unique way using technology. Students can very easily come on GrabGuidance's portal, select an expert of his/her choice based on pricing, rating and reviews, book a slot with them as per the available slots mentioned and consume the live 1:1 doubt solving session also on our inbuilt online class system. All happening on one single platform seamlessly.

Great Companies: What are the struggles and challenges you face?

Astha Gandhi: Of Course being a bootstrapped startup till date, the journey has definitely been full of hurdles and challenges. Building this whole technology stack to deliver a seamless experience from searching, to finding the expert, to booking, to even consuming online sessions all on a single platform was the first thing we had to figure out with the tech team. After we passed through the difficult phase of product development, going to the market and getting our first set of customers was one real challenge because of the rigorous competition prevailing especially in the last 2 years in the edtech sector.

Customer acquisition has become so costly because of deep pockets and huge spending by funded startups in the domain. But we have been going strong and sailing. We planned to focus on organic strategies to grow and scale from 1 customer to 100 today which has both B2C and B2B like schools, colleges and universities with 7K USD revenue and 3K MAU achieved in just a couple of months after hitting the market.

Great Companies: How do you plan to grow in the future? What does 5 years down the line look like for GrabGuidance (Grab Guidance Services LLP)?

Astha Gandhi: Till next 6 months, we would be focussing highly on organic hacks to grow to get a decent traction. After that, we have plans to go for a seed round to scale up inorganically and create a uber kind of model replicated in the education sector in India impacting the sector with huge live doubt solving support anytime, anywhere one 1:1 live basis. After a stronghold in the Indian Market, we intend to explore the middle east and then the US market too as there is a huge demand for Indian teachers in such nations.

Great Companies: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

Astha Gandhi: If you are thinking of starting off a venture in any domain, there is one most important thing that you have to keep in mind regardless of anything.

You need to keep a high level of patience as the first few years of starting up are very grueling. There are more failures and demotivations in comparison to achievements. So, if you can't take that strongly, entrepreneurship is not the thing for you then.



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