Mumbai-based Clever Harvey is trying to solve a big conundrum for many students in their teen years: what career should they pursue?
Clever Harvey’s COO and co-founder Madhu Agrawal explained how internships are usually the turning point in one’s career as they offer opportunities for practical exposure and hands-on learning. During internships, students are able to see what a career or the industry looks like from the inside.
But she says there is a problem built into the current system: companies have limited internship opportunities.
This is where Clever Harvey can play a role: give teenagers early clarity and save them years of effort and money on something they may potentially not be interested in the future. The company describes this as a test drive before purchasing a new car.
Clever Harvey gives teenagers a live project experience of various fields through its JuniorMBA program. Each JuniorMBA is 15 hours long. An industry partner like Domino’s, PUMA, Groww etc set a challenge for teenagers to solve. Clever Harvey’s facilitators train students in the concepts of the field and provide guidance on solving the project.
This way, teenagers get to learn about the field, experience what it’s like working in that field on a day-to-day basis and also build a portfolio of industry projects. Each JuniorMBA is certified by Clever Harvey and an industry partner.
Clever Harvey was launched came into existence in April 2020 by Agarwal and Sriram Subramanian, who is also the CEO.The company and it raised $1.5 million in September 2021 in a pre-series A round, led by TechNova Ventures along with Tom Varkey and Multiply Ventures. Existing investor Education Catalyst Fund also participated in the round. Sriram Subramanian is the other co-founder of the company and is also the CEO.
Since its inception, more than 15,000 students have subscribed to Clever Harvey’s programs. The company is aiming to have nearly one lakh students by March 2023 and has also partnered with 15 universities, including the likes of OP Jindal Global University, FLAME, Plaksha University, to give students who have completed a Clever Harvey project extra weightage at the time of admissions.
The Covid-19 pandemic helped expedite the adoption of online education in India. But with pandemic-related restrictions easing and schools resuming, the frenzy appears to be fading. This is why a few edtech startups are recalibrating their business model to explore offline avenues.
For Clever Harvey, however, the change in trend has little impact. Agrawal pointed out that the startup’s business model is a bit different as it never aimed at competing with the conventional school system but rather complementing it.
Clever Harvey also competes with a bunch of edtech startups that cater to younger students. For instance, Debound helps students acquire additional skills without having to compromise on their academics. Other notable startups in this space are Bambinos.live, SP Robotics, and Qshala.
According to Agrawal, acquiring customers through the existing school networks is much more sustainable than doing so through digital marketing.
“We have always been unit economics positive. With the schools re-opening, we have been able to balance our marketing costs across digital and offline channels, and this has helped bring down customer acquisition cost (CAC).” she explained.
That said, the objective to enroll one lakh students by March 2023 is crucial for the company as it will set the stage for its next phase of evolution: developing a data engine.
The data is likely to help the edtech startup better gauge what students like and want to pursue and determine the nature of future programs and training materials. Agrawal says, this could be a “game-changer.”