The group buying market has matured quickly. But is it ready to go to school?
The man taking the concept of group buying to campuses is Majilesh, a young software engineer fresh from a stint at the world’s largest provider of educational services, Kaplan.
It’s fair to say his young startup, CrowdStudy, is venturing into uncharted territory. As far as we know, a South African company called Quirk Education has experimented with it for a few workshops but not much more has happened.
Majilesh believes that CrowdStudy has the potential to radically change the way students pick universities in an era of soaring academic fees. It is at a nascent stage of growth and is eyeing deals ahead of the September sessions.
Majilesh told Anthill in an e-mail interview he is in discussions with several educational institutions and expects to announce a few names by next week.
CrowdStudy believes group buying can extract discounts of between 50% and 90% off regular fees. It seems ambitious, considering the fact that academic fees are a big-ticket purchase, and can’t be compared to high discounts on restaurant meals and fake tans. Still, even discounts of up to 25% could prove a boon to students, and their groaning parents.
Majilesh, who lives in Sydney, says CrowdStudy would transact its business differently from group buying sites such as Scoopon but the startup’s exact modus operandi is not clear as yet.
In response to the question, Majilesh said CrowdStudy would next year target the foreign student market, a lucrative one for Australian universities, which have lost students and goodwill in recent years on account of alleged racial attacks against students, notably from India.
Conceivably, discounted deals would make Australian education affordable for many more foreign students, especially from countries such as China and India.
“Our CrowdOn business model is built to attract international students to come to study in Australia,” Majilesh said, pointing out that international education is Australia’s third largest export earner.
Immigration policy changes and lower visa approvals have put the industry under pressure and “we would like to apply our business model in overseas as well to attract more international students to Australia,” he added.
CrowdStudy: How it might work
CrowdStudy’s process might look something like this:
Users would sign up to receive daily deals via email; they would then need to decide and sign up and for the programs in up to 48 hours, and even buy it within a stipulated time before redeeming the coupons at the respective institutions.
Under Majilesh’s ‘CrowdOn’ model, subscribers would be able to submit expression of interest on educational products and services. After this, the company would negotiate with education providers to get good deals.
CrowdStudy initially aims to offer deals on professional courses like MBAs, masters in information technology and accounting, besides classes like painting, art, dance, music, fitness, martial arts, personality development, seminars, workshops and educational events.