Networking -> Good Connections -> Success. This is the street map for nowadays’s Gen C to stroll a step in advance in their competitors in any place of their desire. Whether it’s approximately launching a startup, or expanding commercial enterprise; for better research or taking job referrals, each person realizes the role networking performs. And it would be like ‘icing on the cake’ if you will get in his network an increasing number of trusted and reliable sources.
Keeping this in mind, the duo in 2011 from DA-IICT (Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information & Communication Technology), Swapnil Khandelwal and Rubish Gupta laid down the muse of AlmaConnect – a social platform based totally on personal alumni networks. This Gurgaon based portal goals at solving the problem of ‘Sustained Alumni Engagement’, thereby bridging the alumni interaction hole and developing a strong community based totally on TRUST.
As said via Rubish, “the primary idea is to provide a platform wherein people can get relied on assist from their alumni networks”. “There are alumni web sites where there may be no engagement and then there are electronic mail / Facebook/ LinkedIn businesses wherein there's engagement however it will become junk mail over a time frame,” brought Swapnil.
The top stakeholders to this service are Alums, Students and Institutes (Schools/Colleges). Alumni networks are set up as separate sub-domain names. The college students/individuals can select and connect to their respective alum organizations thru Email, Facebook or LinkedIn. Any replace to the profiles in those networks, will automatically update the profile records at AlmaConnect for all. In case any university isn't always brought, an alumni can refill a request online and can start constructing his institute network there.
The faculties however, can begin with their existing database and with the aid of sending invites to join the network. This offers them an updated alumni database and helps them in branding and organizing placement drives. Although, there is no fees for signing up, the institutes/colleges can sign up to host their reliable alumni portals by using paying an annual subscription expenses. The portal can then be used for having non-public announcements, discussions, etc.
What Advantages Does It Offers?
The key feature of the platform is ‘News approximately Alumni’. AlmaConnect has an set of rules that tracks alumni mentions at the web mainly media web sites. The product fetch information and updates approximately alumni and use gadget gaining knowledge of & NLP to make certain the accuracy of these mentions and to figure out which one must be shown to which alumni making sure only applicable updates are visible with the aid of a consumer.
Here is a snapshot of the way a webpage for IIT-Delhi domain on Almaconnect will look like. The news presenting alums or related to alums are indexed along the alum info in terms of the information article. The alum information include his/her name, batch year and contemporary enterprise. The news feeds additionally stated the authentic media supply, to show whole authenticity to the information.
“This feature is being loved by using our users as it helps them find out & connect with the relevant alums and this is a few facts they're no longer able to get everywhere else. It also enables entrepreneurs get visibility in their alumni community which similarly enables them in their ventures,” stated Swapnil.
The other capabilities include aggregation of job openings in companies wherein alums paintings, facilitate referral jobs, coping with Events, Directory, Donations and greater.
Market Opportunity, Current Traction And Monetization Plans
Alumni networking has ability to cater to a hundred+ Mn humans as alumni percentage a trust amongst each different that is existent from a school, to an undergrad college to publish commencement to one’s ex-corporation. Where for most of the colleges there's no alumni portal, majority has just a static alumni web page/pages. The founders inside the initial phase are targeting a hundred million Indian graduates from pinnacle 20,000 schools & faculties.
With a four member group, AlmaConnect is presently having 150,000 Signed up customers which includes 30% each day & 70% weekly active users. Almost 10,000 information articles are tracked each day. One hundred+ faculties are paying them an annual subscription fee inclusive of the ‘likes’ of IIT Roorkee, St. Stephen’s College, University of Mauritius, St. Paul’s School, and so on. “We have colleges associated with us from throughout India – Majority of them being from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, North, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu & Andhra Pradesh alongside a few overseas faculties like Nanynag Business School,” stated Swapnil.
They have in advance raised $ three hundred,000 from CIIE IIM Ahmedabad, IXORA Ventures, Dharmendra Yashovardhan (Co-Founder, IXIGO), DiscountShop.Com and some greater angels. “We are in talks to raise approx. $ 2 Mn to extend our person base to 1,000,000 lively users with the intention to permit us to test with new sales fashions..,” said Swapnil. The founders have other plans of monetization too, however do not want to reveal them but.
Competition and Challenges
The biggest competition as of now could be from present alumni businesses on emails and social media structures. However, as in line with Rubish, they may be greater like radio channels and can't paintings for huge communities together with alumni corporations in a sustained manner. When asked about the challenges, the founders agree with that the biggest mission has usually been user engagement.
“We are on our way to emerge as the primary actual social community from India. It is hard to find individuals who apprehend social networks in India and getting the proper people to consider and back us up is what we think might be a major venture for us,” said Swapnil.
“Every now and then you definately see alumni websites spring up, however hardly ever locate any retention there. It took us a number of time and experimentations to crack engagement on our platform. However, we are lucky sufficient to make our purchaser faculties believe in us to work with us and put money into our agency to crack the problem,” introduced Rubish.
Historically, bringing human beings collectively has been one among the largest boom drivers for technology corporations. Ed-tech has been slow to seize-on. At the identical time, massive possibilities have been created in this space riding on this essential human want to connect. Dharmendra Yashovardhan, an investor in AlmaConnect, believes that Technology, Relationships, Awareness of the Consumer Context and Ambition are the 4 key factors with a view to differentiate the massively a hit corporations from the also-rans. So, what lies in destiny for these startups in the ed-tech space? Will we see more such tasks? Will we see any income graph here or it might be like other freemium fashions, strolling on losses?