In this age of information technology, when the internet has spread its wings in every single sector of human life, an EdTech startup found out the loophole in the Bangladeshi education system and started an online education platform for academic students. We are talking about "Sohopathi," a visionary education platform in Bangladesh. However, the platform might not be familiar to many, but they are growing silently. Although EdTech is a hot topic worldwide, many entrepreneurs do not dare to venture into this field due to a lack of knowledge or capital. The founders of Sohopathi took the dare and successfully managed the fund! Let's explore more details about Sohopathi.
What is Sohopathi?
Officially launched in 2019, Sohopathi is basically an online education platform to facilitate students and mentors. It is a place where anyone can learn or teach lessons online on different SSC and HSC level subjects.
Sohopathi aims to provide personalized education to students online. They provide the service the experienced mentors from top universities such as BUET, DU, SUST, NSU, KUET, and more. Further, they have specialized mentors for each subject. Currently, Sohopathi has more than 70 mentors. Further, the web platform has videos on different subjects and different chapters.
How does Sohopathi emerge?
Sohopathi was an initiative by a group of BUET and MIST students. All the founders were educators when they were in their undergrad. So, they used to visit different suburban and rural places, and they felt that the majority of the students did not have access to quality education.
Furthermore, they also realized that the student-teacher ratio is quite skewed, and as a result, teachers cannot pay attention to each student. Hence, the students outside of Dhaka city miss the quality education. With that note, the founders started a Q & A based Facebook group and pages, where the students can ask about anything, and they would supply the right answer. Gradually they got a huge response.
Later they appointed a group of volunteers consisting of 60 members, who used to answer the questions in the Facebook group. Back in 2017, they were quite popular, and within two years, they built a database of 15,000 questions. In their early days, it was known as Online Sohopathi.
The idea of launching a platform came from that Facebook group based on academic questions and answers. Although they began their journey in 2017, Sohopathi incorporated in 2020 as Mainframe Lab.
They launched the website in the same year, but they did not have any business model for the first two years. Nevertheless, they were not sure if anyone would be willing to pay for their services as it was not
common during those days. But, their confusion got clear when 100 students paid for a programming workshop they took at Dhaka University.
Later they introduced a paid online model test option for the students looking for admission to universities, which led them to earn revenue and improve their business model. Later they started personalized support for the students for a fee. That's how the mentor service emerged. However, the Q&A section is still free.
How do they work?
Back in 2019, Sohopathi used to run through the earnings from paid online exams, workshops, and other sources. Later in the same year, they rented a co-working space in Daffodil Business Incubator Center. Later they applied to the Grameenphone pre-accelerator in 2019 and eventually got selected, which was a turning point to shape their business. Further, they competed in Tiger IT Innovation Challenge 2019 and earned top three positions, and received investment from Tiger IT Foundation.
They already had mentor service, and later they launched the B2B platform to collaborate with the coaching centers and eventually sold the service to several coaching centers. It later included the main model of Sohopathi. However, they didn't have an actual operation until September 2020.
The Sohipathi platform is fully automated now, and students can purchase the courses they want and start the course after making payment. Throughout this process, no human interaction is needed.
For the mentors, Sohopathi has a commission-based model as well as a fixed payment model. For the commission-based structure, the platform takes a certain percentage from the mentors' earnings, and the rest of the amount directly goes to the mentors' bank account without any manual interaction. The fixed payment model is applied to the courses with big batches.
When it comes to the sales side, they have a full-proof pipeline to find, acquire and register students. They use calls, SMS, and other promotional activities. Sohopathi has more than 1000 campus ambassadors in different schools and colleges. Mostly the ambassadors are school and college students who help the company with marketing and sales. The ambassadors get good incentives to bring the leads.
For the content side, they are an open platform in which students, mentors, and anyone can submit content. However, they had an unorganized content library, but now they have an organized content library as the company hired people for video editing and illustration. That's how their revenues have grown to almost five times since 2020.
For the B2B segment, Sohopathi has an online exam solution for educational organizations.
Sohopathi has a different price for different segments. For instance, students can have the option to take courses for Tk. 500/month to Tk. 5000/month. The differentiation happens due to the personalized service as the student will need to pay more for the personalized service.
Sohopathi is proceeding with a solid plan as they have a target to collaborate with 50 top-level high schools or colleges from 30 districts in the next 1 year. Further, they also aim to create a network of top 3,000 educators across the country. The company also plans to introduce skill-based courses in the future.
Apart from these long-term goals, the founders also aim to increase the daily app users to 50,000. Through all these targets, they want to get ready to raise VC investment word $1.5-2 million by the end of 2022.
Further, the organization also aims to improve the platform gradually while they integrate online exams and mentorship programs for educational institutions.
While the Sohopathi develops its business, they face challenges too. The main challenge they face is the reach, and they want to improve it by reaching more students. Now, Sohopathi is a team of 20 members who have expertise in different domains, from software development to marketing. The company has more than 3500 active recurring paid users. Their B2B platform has collaborated with 5 educational institutions, and most of them are located outside of Dhaka. So, the founders see a good prospect of providing quality education outside of Dhaka.