So it’s not two-three weeks, but the next three-four days: Info Edge (BOM: 532777) (Naukri.com) has planned to launch its education portal Shiksha.com by the end of this week, contentSutra has learned; a team, lead by Apurva Kumar, VP and National Head of Mobility, Ad Sales & Investments, has been visiting agencies. As Info Edge executives had mentioned in the earnings call, Shiksha will be an education marketplace, and will take up significant investment. $5-10 million over a period of three years is what COO Hitesh Oberoi has told ET.
Shiksha is likely to be B2C classifieds business – free for consumers, and paid for educational businesses targeting them; businesses like colleges (particularly private colleges), agents and coaching classes etc; supplementary businesses like coaching classes have been thriving in India for years, and there are towns like Kota in Rajasthan which survive on just entrance exam education. Foreign education is another opportunity, and companies like the QS World MBA Tour have been operating in India, as have GMAT and GRE coaching centres and agents for foreign universities. The QS World MBA Tour hosts offline events, allowing colleges to showcase themselves to prospective students, which is a market that Info Edge should look at, like they are doing with job fairs. Not to forget: Info Edge is late for the current graduate and undergraduate admission season.
There are community portals around the educational segment that have been operational for many years – PagalGuy and CoolAvenues are two that come to mind, but no one attempted to get establish a business in this domain at a large scale; if done right, this could be bigger than the jobs segment itself. But this isn’t the job segment and I don’t think people will come just for listings. Information and context will have to be a key component – user generated reviews, ratings, info and tips on student selection criterion (interviews and group discussions), student experiences, local information, brochures, forms, and alerts for admission date/form submission dates. There has to be a community.
Disclosure: I own an inconsequential number of shares of Info Edge