This CA amid the pandemic co-founded a 100% bootstrapped live-tutoring edtech startup and has 20,000 plus students

  • Udit Chaturvedi is a Chartered Accountant with over 14 years of experience in different industries.
  • His decision to quit his well-settled no-risk job at Ernst & Young contributed to his burgeoning career in the startup world.
  • With his fellow co-founders Rohit Jain and Manika Tiwari, his efforts paid off after establishing DUX– a live tutoring affordable engagement-heavy platform with subscriptions starting at just INR 750 per month. 
  • Today, 20,000+ students have enrolled on their subscription-driven platform with over 70 % of the students coming through organic word of mouth referrals.
  • Here is how they began their eventful startup journey.

From dreaming to be a Partner at a Big 4 to getting attracted by the startup world

I was born in Bateshwar, a village situated 70 km away from Agra, UP. At the age of 4, in May 1990, I moved to Rishra in the Hooghly district of West Bengal, a suburb located 20 km away from Kolkata.

Why did I choose to pursue CA? More than anything else, the reason to choose CA was its affordability and high payoff. This was the only course that had a very reasonable fee but had promising rewards once you clear. Obviously, the risk is higher as there is no guarantee of becoming a CA unlike many other courses but that’s the risk vs reward analysis.

I started my career with E&Y Bangalore in the Audit team through campus placement. Operating with audit provided the opportunity to work and explore different industries like IT, manufacturing, and E-commerce.

Like any other EY employee, the plan was always to become a partner in E&Y one day. However, life had its own plan.

While working on some startup audits, I decided to see the other side of the world and left the most secured job (E&Y) and plunged into the startup world with Zoomcar - an Indian self-drive car rental company.

The idea to take an entrepreneurial plunge with 2 of my friends

While working at Zoomcar, Rohit Jain and I always discussed fruitful opportunities and exchanged ideas of establishing a startup together. However, we did not have the courage to leave our jobs.

During our stint at Zoomcar (as Director of Finance and Country Head of Marketplace) we both decided to take a leap of faith and change our companies.

Consequently, I moved to MFine and Rohit moved to OLA (New Business Initiatives).

Our plan of establishing our startup was still on the table and we extensively discussed it at length.

Finally, when my daughter started schooling, I realized how expensive education had become in India.

After engaging in a conversation with Rohit - who has been teaching for the last 17 years, we both realized that education is a basic right and no one should lose out on it because they cannot afford to pay for it.

Manika has been passionate about this field since time immemorial. She had been a teacher at TIMES for Verbal Ability for 4 years.

Rohit, Manika, and I have had a mutual bond of trust and understanding for a long time. That is what directed our decision towards starting this endeavor together. Hailing from a small town and making it in the city even helped us to connect well with each other.

Our ideas were based on these problems and thus began our journey to DUX Education in 2020. DUX means 'leader', 'mentor', 'guide'. It has a sound similar to 'Daksh' in Hindi that means 'skillful'. 

Our Goals at Dux

  • Education is one of the basic rights – your  paying capacity shouldn't determine your access to quality education
  • The role of teacher goes much beyond just delivering lectures - a teacher guides, pushes, motivates, and inspires the students
  • Engagement is the soul of education - if teachers and students can't forge a relationship in an engagement heavy way; education will always be incomplete
  • Practice is the key to concept clarity

Building DUX and growing to 20,000 students 

We started in 2020 and have done a small friends and family round to raise funds. Given our finance background, we have been able to grow while keeping the burn-in check!

For the first 6 months, all we did was speak to parents. We have spoken to more than 3,000 parents personally just to understand what they need and how best can we serve them.

After this, we have internally defined that the objective of the live class is to kill the distance factor. An online class will only become effective if you make a student feel that the teacher is sitting just across the table and not in a remote city!

We are a non-tech team, so there was no technology at play when we started out. We used to personally send class reminders [for every single class] along with a link to the parents. Tying everything together– we created all the systems on google sheets. Our previous experience came to the rescue.

To ensure students stay engaged, DUX Education’s live tutoring platform holds classes in batches of 10. The curriculum is in sync with the ICSE/CBSE school syllabus, and also includes non-academic subjects like Vedic Math and Phonics.

The subscription-driven platform went live, DUX Education has enrolled over 20,000 students.

The web-only platform expects to cross ARR of INR 1 crore in August 2021, with 70 percent of students making upfront annual payments.

Challenges on the way

There was a lot of noise in the market; people had experienced and burnt their hands at very expensive products that didn't serve what they wanted.

They had been fooled and were doubly cautious whenever they heard the term "online classes". We are still fighting that fight but the testimonials and feedback from existing parents and students are very helpful in solving this. Most of the students who join the platform are direct referrals from someone already on the platform.

From days of managing things on WhatsApp and google calendars, we are now a 60 member strong company with a smoothly working product.

The team sits out of more than 10 cities and we are today catering to more than 55 cities in the country and more than 13 countries today! We are blessed.

Impact of DUX

Let me share some anecdotes:

There is a single parent from a very small town who had sent his kid to a boarding school. Due to covid, the kid was back home and joined us. The child's aunt tells the father - "Why do you need to send your kid so far away now that you have DUX to take care of everything?"

There is a lady in a very small place - she had no choice but to homeschool the kids since the nearest school was 70 km away. There was a limited choice of tutors around her. Both the kids are now with us and the lady sends us WhatsApp messages at least every month thanking us.

Stories like these keep us going and we are going to give our best at every step. 

DUX Education provides engaging, quality education to students at affordable rates. Their motive was to bring the best of both worlds to the students and provide quality education in an engagement heavy platform at cost-effective rates to everyone. 

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