Angad is currently studying Computer Science engineering at the prestigious BITS Pilani university, while also balancing his duties as the CTO of a web company.
At the grand old age of 18 years, Angad has literally been programming for more than half his life. He earned his first big cheque at the young age of 13, by consulting for a large gaming company on cyber security issues, after “demonstrating their security weaknesses”(he hacked their website.)
Angad is currently working on an idea focused on removing the information imbalance in the current education system, and creating a tool and platform for every student in India to get access to the best intelligence and resources in one click of a button.
He soon founded Examify, which he is here to talk to The Asian Entrepreneur about.
What exactly is Examify?
Wootify is the parent company for our chief product Examify.com. Examify is a smart-studying app that is boosting student performance, productivity, and regularity across India
How did Examify come about?
I spent a lot of time traveling to, and studying in exam-prep ‘coaching classes’ at India. It was here where I realised that conventional exam-prep advice in India is actually counter-productive and that great technology can enable people to perform their best.
And what was the process?
I cleared a 1.5% acceptance test to get admitted to the UG program I’m studying at BITS Pilani – Hyderabad (I’m studying Computer Science). Right after, I started tinkering with an app to help students do better. After an arduous summer and having met my mentor, Vishal Gondal, we decided to make this happen. I think Vishal has been key to me starting this venture, and I cannot thank him enough for it.
How is it like running the business?
The funnest, hardest time I’ve ever had! One has to learn new skills every single month and keep pushing. I come entrenched from a tech background, so it’s been quite the transition for me to learn how to sell, market, pitch, hire, train, inspire, and so on.
Did you find anything particularly difficult during the startup?
I think convincing yourself, and family, to compromise to an extent on college and stick to the venture remains the largest problem in the Asian context. But it must be surmounted. If you can’t pitch to your dad, you can’t pitch to an investor!
What kind of response did you receive initially?
We were overwhelmed with the response we got, people were using our app from all over the world. This was great because we hadn’t spent a dollar on advertising.
What is your strategy against your competition?
Our strategy is to actually care about the end-customer for once. With education in India, its all about making a sale with upfront-cash expectations to parents.
What can you tell us about the industry?
We believe the freemium model we’ve built around Examify will prove to be the greatest disruption.
What is your approach towards maintaining a consistent hold on the market?
It’s all about meeting the customer. We’re a young team and we gave our own exams just a few years ago. I’m still at college. We hold city-level meetups across India to actually talk to people and make sure they’re excited about the things we’re building.
Tell us about your long term objective.
We want Examify to be the destination for everything exam-prep, enabling teachers and students sitting anywhere across the world to connect.
If you could start all over again, would you change anything about your approach?
I would pay more attention to marketing. As an engineer, it was all too easy to fall into the trap of ‘we have a better product’ and neglect distribution.
What do you think about Asian entrepreneurship in general.
They’re the underdogs. Those that survive are true winners. I think Silicon Valley with it’s culture might just be heading towards a bubble. Asia with it’s newly internet-penetrated markets (like rural India) provides for a truly exciting playground.
What are some personal principles or personal values that guide you and your career?
Being passionate, and keeping things simple. We at Examify strongly believe that if you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room. If too many weeks go by where you haven’t learned something new, then it’s time for some introspection. The joy of learning, and creating, is what keeps me going.
What is your definition of success?
Success is taking something from the idea stage to reality. It’s having the freedom to dream, and the skills to keep doing what you love.
When did you realize you wanted to become an entrepreneur?
Probably when I was 12-13! I loved computers, and I always wanted to start my own venture. I think even at that age, it was clear to me that I could contribute a lot more to the world as an entrepreneur rather than being lost in the hierarchy of some big company.
What do you think are the most important things young entrepreneurs should keep in mind?
That this is a business, not a college project. It needs to make money, and you need to market it. A lot of internet startups face the pitfall of “Let’s get 1 million users, then we’ll worry about money”
In your opinion, what are the keys to entrepreneurial success?
Having a great support system from family, loved ones, mentors and investors. Willingness to learn, humility, and embracing change.