Laying A Foundation To Unlimited Learning: Satish Rajagopalan

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Tech visionary Satish Rajagopalan set out with a dream, an idea, to develop an online platform for Quality Training. This dream became a reality when Satish founded ApnaCourse [www.apnacourse.com] in August 2013. ApnaCourse launched by Fynamics Training Solutions Pvt Ltd (Formerly known as SpearheadEduOnline Pvt LTD) is India's leading MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) platform. It is the Online Training Platform for Globally Recognized Certifications and are delivered by Renowned and Certified Experts. At present ApnaCourse provides various courses to thousands of individuals.

Satish Rajagopalan holds a B-tech degree in computer science,an MBA in Strategy and Entrepreneurship and a post-graduation in Finance. He has 9+ years’ experience across multiple industries including a leading Mutual Fund house as a Business Analyst and at India's largest Research and Ratings agency as a Research Analyst.

Thus, we have Satish Rajagopalan,Founder,Director and CEO sharing with us insights on his incredible Journey as an Entrepreneur.

Tell us something about yourself

I love everything tech. My passion is to explore new technologies and assess how they can reduce mundane manual works.  I did my B.Tech in Computer Science from VIT Vellore and completed a Post Graduation in Finance from NITIE Mumbai and an MBA from Great Lakes, Chennai. I graduated magna cum laude (the highest level of academic distinction) in MBA (gold medalist) and a merit scholar in graduation. In the last few years, my focus has been mainly on technology products and cyber security. I’m a CISA, CISSP, CISM and an ITIL Foundation certified professional and have served as a member of the ISMS (Information Security Management System) committee for assessment and implementation of ISO/IEC 27001:2013 and as Director of Technology, in my prior engagements.

What inspired you to be an Entrepreneur?

My dad’s an entrepreneur and I’ve probably been heavily influenced by that.Ever since I joined college, I wanted to be an entrepreneur someday. This thought was triggered when I was at Mumbai, working as a Research Analyst.My friends used to prepare for the CFA and FRM exams and would apply to classroom trainings. But given the work pressure, they would miss out on most classes. Furthermore, some trainers were students who had passed the certification exam few weeks ago and had no prior teaching experience. This motivated me to bring in an online platform with qualified experts to provide quality training. The idea has hence, evolved over the years to what is ApnaCourse today.

"Entrepreneurs need to be self-motivated. I believe it’s the same in my case too. The zest to make it big motivates me to work every day and to do something large.
As far as I can go. In your own company, there are no limits. And once you realize it, there’s no stopping you."

What was the vision with which you started ApnaCourse?

The broad vision was to be an innovator in the Education space, whereby there’s recognition to the business model and the technology landscape that has been built. Internet is so prevalent in our lives today, that it can make a huge impact in the way education is delivered. I wanted to integrate Education with Internet, and that was the seed of ApnaCourse. I may have made a humble beginning but certainly have miles to go.

How was the idea conceived and evolved over time?

The business model that ApnaCourse is today has certainly evolved from what I initially envisioned. While I did want to venture in the EdTech space, the original idea was slightly divergent to the current model. The change has been necessitated due to various external factors. Nonetheless, the core concept continues to remain as is and has been aligned to what I’ve always dreamt of doing.

"There’s nothing more important than education. With internet access reaching the corners of our society, technology enabled education like ours can aid in delivering quality education at affordable prices and make learning ubiquitous".

 

 

What were the challenges and setbacks that you faced at the start of your venture?

There were Multiple challenges. Our biggest challenges were acquiring our first faculty and getting the core team in place. The faculty prospects were highly skeptical about our online application. It took us some time and a lot of effort in getting them convinced and after many weeks, we got our first faculty to sign up. Then there were financial constraints. We have always been a bootstrapped startup. So we are constantly conscious of costs and had to balance faculty desires with our costing models. Other challenge has been to setup the right team. However, none of the challenges were setbacks, we just took them as opportunities and worked towards addressing them and we continue doing the same till now.

What, as per you, are the benefits that you have reaped out of this?

I believe that returns from any venture cannot be calculated only in terms of money. Even though we are doing well financially, there are many other non-monetary benefits that has given us excellent returns.

Today, we have faculties writing to us directly and asking for partnerships. As ApnaCourse stands today, we believe there are no new challenges, just opportunities to grow bigger. Fortunately, our staff is our main strength. They contribute to the success of ApnaCourse. Employees who believe in perfection and perseverance are an asset to any organization. Our value systems are strong, and our vision is a long term one. The skill and enthusiasm with which we approach our goals is extraordinary and it in turn garners immense customer satisfaction.

How do you envision ApnaCourse a few years from now?

Every entrepreneur comes with big dreams while starting his/her venture. There is no motivation without dreams. I too dreamt of being a leading innovator in EdTech space. I continue to nurture that dream and hopefully one day I will achieve it. It’s important to remember that technology cannot be the driver, but only an enabler. It must be combined with efficient business models to derive necessary and desired outcomes.

"In businesses there’s nothing like an ultimate goal, because once that goal is achieved, then the motivation to do more ends. Instead, I keep milestones and as and when those are achieved, newer and tougher milestones take birth."

What, as per you, are the benefits that you have reaped out of this?

I believe that returns from any venture cannot be calculated only in terms of money. Even though we are doing well financially, there are many other non-monetary benefits that has given us excellent returns.Today, we have faculties writing to us directly and asking for partnerships. As ApnaCourse stands today, we believe there are no new challenges, just opportunities to grow bigger. Fortunately, our staff is our main strength. They contribute to the success of ApnaCourse. Employees who believe in perfection and perseverance are an asset to any organization. Our value systems are strong, and our vision is a long term one. The skill and enthusiasm with which we approach our goals is extraordinary and it in turn garners immense customer satisfaction.

How do you envision ApnaCourse a few years from now?

Every entrepreneur comes with big dreams while starting his/her venture. There is no motivation without dreams. I too dreamt of being a leading innovator in EdTech space. I continue to nurture that dream and hopefully one day I will achieve it. It’s important to remember that technology cannot be the driver, but only an enabler. It must be combined with efficient business models to derive necessary and desired outcomes.

"In businesses there’s nothing like an ultimate goal, because once that goal is achieved, then the motivation to do more ends. Instead, I keep milestones and as and when those are achieved, newer and tougher milestones take birth."

 

What are your expectations from this venture?

Expectations vary over time. Currently my short-term expectations are to constantly deliver more and more value adding and new age courses on the portal. The long-term expectation is to make ApnaCourse the one stop shop for all professionals to learn and enhance their skill sets.There are certain risk areas that we monitor constantly, and I would be lying if I say we had no fallback plans. Nonetheless, we are quite confident on our business model and the market approach, so we aren’t too focused on executing a fallback option soon.

What is that one goal that you work for?

The plan is to become the one stop learning center for all professionals. In this regard, we are constantly adding newer and market relevant courses. My personal plans are to stabilize the product and then to start other related tech focused business while passing the baton to able seniors who can ensure its maturity and growth.

""The ultimate goal is to be remembered as an individual who made a mark in his field."

 

 

What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage it?

Failure is my greatest fear. It probably is with many entrepreneurs because not just us but our families, friends and even colleagues are dependent on our success. I get a lot of support from my family and my team is well supported by senior members who understand delivery pressures and align teams to perform at their best potentials.

What are your ideals?

Trust yourself. I’ve been criticized many times for being in the space I’m in and for the business model of ApnaCourse. I’ve just followed my instincts most of the times and fortunately the odds have been low.Just believe in yourself and if you feel your idea is good, then go with it. Don’t bother on what others say or do. If you can be your product’s first paying customer without any bias, then rest assured there are many others who’ll want to buy it.

What does success mean to you?

For me, success is an everyday mantra. It’s not an ultimate goal. If at the end of the day, you feel good about something and if you have achieved what you set out to, for that day, then that is success. And it is this success which will give you a peaceful sleep that night. So, success can be money for some, recognition for others. It’s what each one defines. But it’s what is going to give you happiness and peace.

“I will go as far as I can to succeed. In your own company, there are no limits. And once you realize that, there are no stoppages and there is no stopping you”

 

 

Contact Apna Course @+91 73536 05333  support@apnacourse.com www.apnacourse.com

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