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“Finances should not be the biggest barrier in a child’s higher education” Eela Dubey, founder of EduFund

EduFund has recently raised INR 2.5 Crore Pre-Seed round led by ViewTrade Holding Corporation, USA. At EduFund, our mission to build a unified platform that best suits one’s academic aspirations.

1. Brief us about your business model like how did the idea come to start and how does it work (step-by-step procedure)?

I was a bright student who grew up in an upper middle-class family in New York and I was fortunate to secure an admission at the reputed NYU, my dream university.

But having a parent who was sick and in and out of work for a decade meant that my parents couldn’t afford to pay a huge tuition fee from their pockets. I found it challenging, and hard, to fund my higher education.

I was left with one option: finance my own education. I took a loan, bagged a partial scholarship and took up two part-time jobs.

EduFund was born out of my own struggle. Finances should not be the biggest barrier in a child’s higher education. We created EduFund so that no child is left behind just because of finances. We created EduFund so that no parent experiences the stress that comes with not securing your child’s future.

You can join EduFund in 3 simple steps-

Download the app, tell us about your child’s education goals and kick-start your monthly investment plan. You can plan, invest and track your progress from your phone.

2. What are the unique key points of your startup?

The key points of our startup is that allows parents to financially plan for their children’s higher education by giving them a detailed roadmap on:

1. The true costs of education that they aspire for

2. How to map their aspiration to a financial plan

3. A holistic plan for their child’s education

Our products are focused on two areas: higher education financing, and college counselling. Within the app, parents can use our one-of-a kind college calculator to understand the true cost of education. When we say “true cost” it’s important to understand that tuition fees alone do not make up the entire cost of college. University inflation, the cost of living, and country inflation are all dynamic elements that change year upon year. This will alter the cost of education dramatically even over a 5-year span. Our college calculator arms parents with the knowledge of cost. We then help parents understand which investments best suit their goals to reach this savings target. Users can invest in mutual funds, and US dollar products, directly from our app if they want to create a savings plan for their child’s higher education.

While financing is incredibly important, academic preparation, especially for colleges abroad, is also really important. Understanding the right stream, admissions process, standardized tests etc can be intimidating without proper guidance. We’ve partnered with India’s best college counsellors to help parents and their child prepare for the college process. Parents can directly access these counsellors from our app and start a conversation with whichever one of them best suits the parent’s needs.

In this regard, EduFund is the total umbrella for higher education planning

3. What is the funding status and monetization model?

EduFund has recently raised INR 2.5 Crore Pre-Seed round led by ViewTrade Holding Corporation, USA. At EduFund, our mission to build a unified platform that best suits one’s academic aspirations.

4. What challenges are you facing in running your business? Being a women entrepreneur, what challenges have you faced to start the business?

I’ve worked in finance for most of my career. Despite changing niches within this domain, one thing has been constant in my experience: women remain largely underrepresented as leaders, and investment managers in the space. When I started EduFund, the music reel was not much different- most successful fintechs are run by men and I knew I would have my fair share of challenges. There were so many instances where I was disregarded because of my gender. But one of the beauties of being a woman is that we are wired to persevere. Fast track 1 year later, EduFund employs an equal number of women and men. It is home to colleagues that are incredibly compassionate towards each other and propel each other despite their gender. We are a start-up that has received incredible support from investors and are an exciting trajectory towards growth in the fin-tech space.

5. How have been the parent’s responses so far?

We just launched two months ago and we are getting good responses from parents because now they can plan easily for their kid’s education since their childhood.

6. What are the traction details (like users, other achievements of the company)?

We just launched two months ago and are seeing incredible traction. We already have clients transacting on the app and have matched quite a few happy families with counsellors.

7. How do you look at expansion?

Expansion is at the core of any business. Be it product, geography, or anything else – it goes through a continuous evolution. Coming to the product, March is a big month for us. The team working round the clock to improve user experience, create new plans and bring in new features.

I’m delighted to share that the EduFund app will soon have a Build Yourself plan. This is aimed at providing more flexibility to parents when it comes to planning and investing for their child’s future. Under the plan we are bringing together over 4000+ mutual funds in one platform from which a parent will be able to choose the ones that are best suited to them. Additionally, we are coming with hand picked buckets and many more features that provide flexibility to the user.

Additionally, we are also introducing ‘EduCase’, a curated investment pack to meet your goals. Each EduCase is backed by research and built by highly-experienced financial experts.

Since education plays an important part of what we do, we are excited to partner with some highly-reputed education counsellors. We believe that having one-on-one guidance from experts can help students reach their dream university.

9. What is the market size and opportunity?

Higher education planning is fragmented in India. The total pie (College outlay + maintenance, counselling, testing services, immigration) is roughly $26-28 bn and is growing at a CAGR of 18-20%. Of this, the students moving out of the country would be $9-11 bn. An untapped and largely unorganized market that can accommodate not one but many players.

Some fin-techs have education as one of many goals to save for. Traditional investment advisors do something similar in an off-line model. Counsellors will help you with academic preparedness, but they won’t give you a roadmap on how to finance. We want to bring it all together under one roof.

10. “Edufund gives parents a holistic planning tool for their child’s education journey”. Please elaborate on the same.

The EduFund app brings two aspects under one roof: planning for higher education with counsellors and investment planning to fund higher education. That said, EduFund caters to both students and parents. The app understands a child’s aspirations by asking some granular questions to the parents:

1. Which stream is your child interested in? Does your kid aspire to become a Lawyer or an Engineer? Or a Management professional?

2. When does your child want to study?

3. Would you like your child to pursue their education in India or have exposure to a global education?

4. Preferences on country, college rank and location

With our one-of-a-kind College Calculator, the EduFund app allows parents to find the true costs of education in a matter of a few seconds!

We want every child to gain clarity and give them access to top college counsellors because I know first-hand that it’s tough to choose the right course or find the right college. Our in-app experts will personally guide and support the students to help them make it to their dream college.

11. What technologies do you use in EduFund for financial planning for the child’s education.

Our app is designed around child’s global education goals. Our core philosophy is – Simple, secure, and transparent. The app has state-of-the-art security measures: a two-factor authentication, and bank-grade protection to ensure safe and secure online transactions.

The app recommends a personalized financial plan that is backed by research and data. EduFund advises people on how much one should invest, and where. They recommend the right number of ETFs and mutual funds for children so that with time the child’s education fund can grow.The platform’s college calculator provides first-of-its-kind and accurate estimates for their child’s dream college including – tuition fees, living costs, inflation, etc.

Source: Business World

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