In Conversation with… Shikhar Rungta, Founder & CEO, Unigrad.io
Please help us know you better. (Your background)
I am a software engineer by qualification. I completed my undergraduate in Information Technology in 2015 and master’s in software engineering from BITS Pilani in 2017. I worked with SAP Bangalore for more than four years as a software developer and product specialist. I have a fascination for tech products and love the excitement of taking them from 0 to 1. I also enjoy traveling, adventure activities, and cooking.
Tell us about Unigrad.io. How did it all start?
Before starting Unigrad.io, I was an MBA aspirant. To fulfill that dream, I gave GMAT, securing 730 on it, and got admits from ISB, Carnegie Mellon, and a few other top universities in the US. I was waiting to join CMU in the fall of 2020, but Covid happened, This led to a change of heart, and I saw this as an opportunity for starting up. So, while I was scouting for ideas, I was also making YouTube videos for my channel – ‘Your MBA Buddy’ wherein I share my experiences and learnings of giving GMAT and applying to B-Schools, this became the foundation of what I am currently building because by talking to a lot of students I realized that mentorship is so important when one tries to do something outside of their comfort, be it learning something new or preparing for a competitive exam. Keeping this in mind, we are building unigrad.io as a self-serving platform for both tutors and students. Currently, students can find the best mentors to help them in their preparation for GMAT, GRE, IELTS, SAT, ACT, or TOEFL.
How has your journey been so far?
The journey so far has been very fulfilling and full of learning. Every day is a new challenge. My journey is only five months long, and I am already doing things that I never thought I would do. Luckily, the hard work is paying off, and the initial feedback from the tutors has been very encouraging.
How is the competitive scenario in the industry that you operate?
EdTech is a very competitive space in India right now. There are all sorts of companies offering all types of services. So, it becomes difficult to differentiate or to have a unique value proposition. Nonetheless, it is a growing market, and we will strive to build our niche.
The pandemic has affected many businesses. What are the immediate challenges your Business faced, and how do you plan to overcome them?
Since we are a tech start-up, we do not see too many challenges posed by covid. On the other hand, we are focused on helping tutors and students who are facing challenges because of covid.
Looking back at your entrepreneurial journey, is there something you feel you could have done differently?
For a founder of an early-stage company, every day is a day to retrospect on yesterday. As long as I’m agile and learning, I do not have any regrets. But if I have to do anything different, then that would be to prioritize the Business over the product.
What would be your advice to all the budding entrepreneurs?
While being an entrepreneur or starting up seems very exciting, people should understand what they are getting in. So, my only advice would be that do not do it just because everyone is doing it, or it is fashionable. Instead, focus on what makes you happy and will elevate you towards a more fulfilling life. As a start-up founder, you do not get to hate your job. So, choose wisely!