StudyBud was selected as one of the top-100 start-ups for 2-day mentoring sessions at the Microsoft Accelerator at Istanbul in September 2014. Top-15 start-ups among these made to the final pitching session on the grand stage at Eurasia’s biggest Start-up event – Start-up Istanbul and we were one of them. With Dave McClure and Rahul Sood in jury, we presented StudyBud, its business model, growth and future plans. We could not make it to the top-3 but the experience and learning was there to stay. At that time, we had 2,000 students, 4 institutional associations and just 7 months into operations.
We recently received an invite from Etohum, the organizer of Start-up Istanbul, an accelerator and seed investor for their International Batch of Start-ups for acceleration.
Here’s why we accepted to be part of this Turkish Accelerator:
- Strong Relationship across Teams – For any start-up, it is important that the Founders have a strong connect with the core team of their Accelerator. Unlike Angels or VCs, accelerators are not about money but networking. Burak Buyukdemir, the founder of Etohum has been in constant touch with us. We have shared our KPIs with him on a regular basis in the last 18 months, he has followed our growth closely and this is what prompted him to invite us for the International Acceleration Batch
- Global Market Access – While exhibiting at Start-up Istanbul, we interacted with the student community of Istanbul. We could immediately gauge their interest in our product. To quote one of the students of an Istanbul based University – “This is exactly what we need here”. We even received strong interests for strategic partnerships from groups with access to more than 100 universities across the Middle East region. With Etohum, we have the right partner, strategically located in one of the most upcoming regions for growth of an Ed-Tech start-up like StudyBud
- Mentorship – Burak and Ozan Sonmez (one of the mentors for StudyBud) have been helpful in not only helping us fine tune our Pitch to Investors but also provided us guidance towards making StudyBud a global product. Ozan advises start-ups across the MENA region, has built Entrepreneurship Curriculum and has run Incubation Centres for multiple Universities. With years of Education and Technology experience, both of them add immense value from a global perspective to our product and growth
- Investor Access – Etohum is well connected with multiple Angel Investors and VC firms not only in the Middle East region, but across the globe. The International Batch of Start-ups at Etohum is slated to have a Demo Day in Europe as well as in San Francisco, with some of the prominent names being present. This is a good opportunity for us to showcase our product and get valuable inputs on raising funds for future
Today, StudyBud has more than 14,000 students registered with it, nearly 7-fold growth in last 17 months and has more than 200 companies for recruitment support to these students. There is still a long way to go but with Etohum, we believe we are on the right track.
[About the Author: Anubhav Jain is the CEO and Co-Founder of StudyBud, a Targeted Learning, Assessment and Recruitment Platform]