Rajan Chandi on his HOT 100: Race to Grace winner Classmint.com that helps students create and share interactive and concise study notes. By Shweta Gandhi
Founded by Rajan Chandi and Amar Prabhu in July 2013, Classmint is an interactive study notes tool that lets you create digital notes that you can publish and share with others or keep private. Co-founder Rajan tells us more about the startup.
Classmint is engaged in building educational tools that assist in learning and studying. “We want to create the best tools that can make notes concise, simple and detailed,” says Rajan. Classmint is based on the Cornell Notes format, a note-taking system devised in the 1950s that is popular in the US. “Using this as a starting point, we built a product that creates condensed and succinct notes,” says Rajan. The site’s USP is its focus on improving the learning experience and helping people learn faster.
Finding the right customers
Classmint is used by over 100 educational institutions, majority of which are based in the US. Some of the universities include UCLA, Bradley University, Stanford, Northern Kentucky University and University of Rochester. “When we launched in 2013, the first month itself saw 5,000 monthly active users. Today, we have 50,000 monthly active users using Classmint in 20 languages across 30 countries,” says Rajan. “People keep creating notes, and it’s mostly for educational purposes.” Till date, 2,00,000 notes have been created by people all over the world.
Classmint is free to sign up and anyone can register with their email address. The company is bootstrapped, and spends barely anything on marketing—it only has an active Twitter account. Classmint earns through advertisements and the ad-free subscription offered to users. Yet another possible source of revenue is sourcing and selling content, but Rajan has stopped focussing on that, citing the issue of publishing rights. Most of the revenue comes from the US, and Rajan says he is able to garner approximately $500 per month. “Monetising Classmint was a challenge at first, but we pulled through,” he says.
Now that Classmint has a working model and regular users, Rajan is considering raising money from investors to further scale things up. “I have a mentor who is advising me and will help me raise funding. So I’m looking at pitching to investors soon,” says Rajan.
Plans for the future
Though Rajan founded the company with Amar, the latter quit in a month. It was then up to Rajan to steer the company ahead. “Our end goal was to create and sell notes. And now that we’ve got that sorted I am moving on to focus on building our product, and acquiring more users,” says Rajan. “The website is on auto-pilot mode; it runs itself using the algorithms. I simply have to maintain it.” Rajan is currently trying to see if Classmint can acquire authors and support them. “A lot of people have started creating notes, and as per Google Trends data, people are searching for e-notes 15 times more than e-books. The demand for study notes has gone up—the trend is for study notes to be digital, detailed and annotated—so that’s what I want to provide,” says Rajan. He is looking to offer notes aligned with the current CBSE and ICSE syllabi for Std 10 and 12, and notes focussed on engineering, which he thinks would be a hit.
Rajan is also planning for a Classmint app, to push its reach in the marketplace and increase its user base. In the last 90 days, more than one lakh people have used Classmint, and Rajan is looking to double that figure soon. “The Government of Israel recently mentioned Classmint as a tool on their education website, so we are making our presence felt and we know we’re going strong,” says Rajan.