Founder Interview - MotaChashma.com by withStartups.com

Nov 2013 Source: withStartups.com

Constantly bombarded by media from all sides, we are all under information overload. One would assume that this would help us in discovering the best opportunities; unfortunately, more often than not the most valuable information lies hidden until too late. This is why we are constantly searching for that one blog/one website that gives us relevant information about a subject. MotaChashma.com aims to fill that gap in education sector, catering to the needs of school students and parents. From auditions to scholarships, the site aggregates information to provide easier and timely access. Lokesh Sabharwal (Founder) explained in more details.

Can you explain the vision behind Mota Chashma?

Our Vision is “To become the most trusted source of information for all educational needs of students, parents and schools.” There’s a definite background behind the genesis of this vision and it started in early 2009. 

We had started a venture in the Education sector in which we organised an Education Megafest (branded as “Paathshala 2 Profession”) in Roorkee. We got an overwhelming response and close to 6000 students visited the two day event. The continuous interaction with the students, teachers and parents during the preparatory phase of the fest and response of attendees, which were mainly students, on the actual day of the fest gave us a glimpse of the needs of the students, the difficulties they face and most importantly, their aspirations. We got a second boost when The National University of Singapore (NUS) published a case study depicting our work (Paathshala 2 Profession) in their journal Asian Case Research Journal (ACRJ). 

So after gaining key hands-on experience of working in the Education Sector for few years and combining it with the lessons learned from our initial foray, we realized that there is a need of an online platform for students which would provide relevant, well researched and easy to understand information on various topics, all at one place. So we came up with our website www.motachashma.com which provides access to free information on scholarships, competitions (Both Indian and global), auditions, education news and also a forum to discuss various topics on issues that are most pertinent to young people, issues in health, career, lifestyle, relationships and a myriad of other things, all equally important. 

In India it is not the lack of talent but the lack of awareness amongst students about various opportunities. So our platform is there to bridge that gap of unawareness and bring opportunities for students in maximum fields.

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What is the reason behind using Mota Chashma as the name of the website?

We came up with Mota Chashma because of two primary reasons:.

  • To differentiate us in terms of brand recall i.e. once somebody hears the name, the chances of recall should be high.
  • It’s a common belief that a student who wears spectacles (Chashma) is considered to be more focused about his career and life. (No offence to the students who don’t wear spectacles). So we kept the name to showcase our platform as one which will help students in getting the right information at the right time to help them in achieving their goals in life.

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It seems that you aim to focus on school going children but the portal would combine both educational and extra-curricular resources. Is that the correct understanding?

Every student has a different talent, some are good in academics and others are good at extra-curricular activities. Students have different talents and different information needs, so our platform tries to cater to all types of students and their needs. In short we aim at overall personality development of the student.

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You are playing in the field of information – and information is free. How will you differentiate?

Yes information is freely available everywhere, what we are trying to do is aggregating it at one place with good research & analysis. We want to be known as a trusted source of information for students. We also plan to start more services in the near future to further benefit students.

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What was the one thing that you assumed before starting out but that proved totally opposite after entering the market?

We thought it would be very difficult to get the content for our sections and also that it might be difficult to convince schools to give us a chance to showcase Mota Chashma, but in a comparatively short span of time, we have realised that schools, parents & students as a whole appreciate our concept. The administration in schools have given us the opportunity to visit them and hold interactive sessions with students, explain the idea behind Mota Chashma and its various offerings. Infact, on the specific request of the schools, we have also conducted sessions with parents during the Parent Teacher Meetings (PTM) of the schools and in the process informed parents about scholarships/competitions and how all this information can be accessed through Mota Chashma.

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What is your immediate focus for growth? Building content, looking for partnerships etc.?

Right now we are focusing on the following areas for our growth:.

  • Working on tie-up with schools in multiple cities to expand our reach.
  • Content creation for our existing sections and for new sections which will be added in near future. We are also expanding our team for the same.
  • We are talking to few companies for the partnership which will help us in giving valuable service to our audience.

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Early days, but what would your one tip to aspiring entrepreneurs be?

We always say one thing to people:.

“Follow your passion, Follow your dreams,

Everything else is part of the journey”

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Before starting up find out whether you have the right skills and the right people to do the job. If yes, then go ahead and please don’t wait for any external motivation. 

More information at http://withstartups.com/founder-interview-motachashma-com/

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