Piyush Agrawal did his B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science and Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. After graduating from IIT Kanpur, he enrolled into the graduate program at Stanford University. Over the years, Piyush has worked as an intern for various companies like Yahoo!, Deutsche Telekom Laboratories, Microsoft Research, and more.
Lack of good quality education in India always troubled Piyush and due to this reason, he decided to that with the right technological platform, the gap between good teachers and students can be minimized. Thus, Piyush conceptualized SuperProfs, which is an online exam preparation portal that enables students to ace competitive exams such as CA, CS, CMA, GATE, UPSC, Banking and many more.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
SuperProfs is an online exam preparation portal that enables students to ace competitive exams such as CA, CS, CMA, GATE, UPSC, Banking and many more, thereby empowering them to pursue their career goals. SuperProfs has tied up with India’s best Professors and their classes have been brought online so that students from any corner of the country may now study from them. The proprietary technology developed by us is able to transmit HD quality lecture videos at very low bandwidths (2G speeds). We also have a mobile app that allows students to study on the go – anywhere, anytime.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
Lack of good quality education in India has always troubled me, I believed that with the right technological platform we can bridge the gap between good teachers and students belonging to even the remotest villages in India. When I was pursuing my PhD, part of my research there included discovering video compression techniques that would work over low internet bandwidth to make transmission of good quality audio video possible. This led to a brainwave where I realized that cost-effective online learning programmes could revolutionize the way education is delivered in India. This was the main guiding philosophy behind founding SuperProfs.
What is your life mantra?
“Do not dwell in the past, Do not fuss over the future – Live in the moment”. This is what drives me.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
To be honest, there have been several challenges in setting up SuperProfs and they continue to pour in as the company grows. These vary in nature depending on the stage of the business. But perhaps, the initial stages were the most challenging – because it was quite tough to find the first set of customers who’d believe in us and try out our product. These early adopters play a critical role in boosting your confidence and they can make or break you.
How did you overcome those challenges?
I was lucky to be blessed with family and friends who supported me through and through, no matter what, and that helped me greatly. During those initial days, we were a small group of 4 to 5 people operating out of my parents’ house. We used to go knocking on doors of various educational institutions trying to sell our product. The key was to be patient and persistent. And once we got a break, we kept an open mind and took suggestions from our clients on how to improve our product and make it more relevant for them. This flexibility not only made our customers happy but also helped us learn and grow.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
SuperProfs has already raised two rounds of funding – Angel round by IAN and Series A being funded by Kalaari and IDG Ventures in December 2014.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
We have a fairly young work force at SuperProfs and the workplace is very dynamic. We are constantly trying to come up with new ideas and implement them and this keeps the energy levels high. We believe that anyone who is happy with their work is less likely to look at opportunities outside. We provide ample opportunities for employees where they can experiment, don various hats, learn new skills and help the company grow as well.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
Focus, Hard work & Humility are, in my opinion, some of the important qualities necessary to be successful. These qualities in a person will ensure that even if you fail, you will pick yourself up and keep trying till you succeed.
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
In this day and age, there are online apps and services for everything – be it booking a travel, home delivery (of all sorts), social media, chatting and what not! I use a lot of them myself but if I have to recommend one particular app – I’m going to urge the readers to try out SuperProfs mobile app.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
As a founder of a company, workload is often overwhelming and could take up most of your time. This can be very stressful and tough to cope with. I consciously make it a point to schedule some alone time to myself on a regular basis and this helps in consolidating my thoughts.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
Some childhood habits die hard, they say and that is true in my case. I’ve changed in many ways since, but I tend to procrastinate chores that don’t seem to need immediate attention and they all pile up and trouble me later!
Answer in less than 50 words
Believe in yourself, work hard & stay grounded
- One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Giving too much importance to peer pressure
- One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
People who openly criticize your actions tend to mean well (more often than not). Beware of those who always agree with you or praise you.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
Over the next three years, we want to expand the scope of SuperProfs so that we facilitate exam preparation for a wider set of audience. We also aim to becoming career enablers and provide end-to-end assistance to aspirants all over.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
I think I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur. So if it were not SuperProfs, I am quite sure that I would have founded some other business that was close to my heart.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
I tend to choose destinations with beaches for my holidays.
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week. – George S. Patton”.