This startup is helping foreign education aspirants get into their preferred university for free

Social communication startup Edumpus has built an AI-led career guidance platform for students, helping them get settled into their university life abroad — for free.

India is the second-largest source of international students after China. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs 2019 statistics reveals that there were nearly 753,000 Indian students studying abroad.

Despite this, there is still huge uncertainty surrounding the whole process to travel and study abroad; precisely since the industry continues to have so many intermediaries and support functions. 

To address these challenges, two friends from the interiors of Kerala —  Ajesh Raj and Basil Ali — decided to build Edumpus in 2019.

The startup is attempting to transform the student recruitment industry in the same way Amazon redefined the experience of purchasing goods – aggregating available courses to let students make informed decisions, says Ajesh, Co-founder and CEO, Edumpus.

The idea stemmed from their own personal experience while pursuing higher education abroad. At each stage of the journey, they faced various hurdles and an archaic system. 

Having met at De Montfort University in the United Kingdom, both founders were convinced that digitisation could transform the student recruitment industry and make it easier for students to pursue their higher education. 

The two designed Edumpus as a social communication platform designed to simplify communication between universities, students, and consultants.

How it works

According to Basil, Co-founder and COO, the startup aspires to be a bridge between institutions and students from across the globe, and wants to create a truly global outreach that will not only help students make informed decisions about their careers but also provide an efficient way for institutions to leverage their resources to pursue good students without making it an exhaustive process. 

Students can sign up on the platform either through the app or the website. They can run a search on more than 500 universities and 50,000 courses available on it and shortlist the right ones based on their requirements. 

Using artificial intelligence (AI), the platform suggests the best-fit courses to students based on their criteria and university offerings. It studies a student’s preferences from their search trends on interests and applications to suggest better and refined options, says Basil.

Once students zero in on the course they want, they can apply and submit relevant documents on the platform itself. The in-house counsellors guide the students throughout the process. 

Edumpus then verifies the documents and submits them to the respective university. 

The company currently has a portfolio of 500+ institutions from more than 15 countries across the globe and over 1,000 consultants from different parts of the Indian subcontinent, South Asia, and MENA region. 

The platform also arranges for university and visa interview training, immigration process, and provides post-landing services to students until they are settled in for their university-life abroad.

Edumpus allows students to connect with university alumni, other students, and any member who may have signed up on the platform to answer any queries they may have.

At the moment, the startup does not charge the students. Its current monetisation model relies primarily on the B2B clientele — charging educational institutions for successful enrolments and through portal subscription fees. 

In FY21, the startup claims to have a gross revenue of Rs 50 million from its primary operations.

COVID-19 impact

After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the educational industry has undergone a rapid pace of digitisation. In the consulting industry, online platforms have caught up with traditional educational consultants when it comes to suggesting courses and guiding students. 

The pandemic led universities worldwide to rapidly shift to virtual education. However, for many programmes, this has not been a sustainable solution. In fact, universities are now trying their level best to take measures that will allow students to attend their classes on-campus again, he explained.

Several countries also issued international travel bans. Embassies and consulate services were limited only to critical services, and visa applications were put on hold. This drastically affected students, many of whom reconsidered their choice of countries for higher education.

Before COVID-19, factors such as the ease of admissions, education quality, immigration policies, costs, etc., were the primary concerns for most students. Now, factors such as health safety and minimum risk have taken precedence for students while choosing their study foreign destination. 

Therefore, countries that demonstrate low numbers of COVID-19 cases, such as New Zealand, Australia, Germany, etc. have found more appeal.

Funding and road ahead

The tech-enabled SaaS platform considers Apply Board and Adventus as its global competitors while in India, LeverageEdu and AdmitKard operate in a similar space.

At present, Edumpus is bootstrapped, and is currently on a path of rapid growth and expansion. 

“We have plans to engage with potential investors once the right opportunity presents itself,” says Basil.

He adds that the startup is launching a new product TRiADGE, which will supplement its existing product portfolio and target around 40,000 Indian higher education institutions to automate their admissions process and help them reach their target audience. 

This will remove the need to have regional offices and redundant facilities, says the founder. 

“Edumpus aims to empower Indian institutions keeping in line with the National Education Policy 2020, which envisioned a robust higher education system in India that will help prevent brain drain to other countries and also allow foreign students to pursue their higher education here,” he adds.

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