Verbicio – Passing the Entrepreneurial Exam with Flying Colours
A brilliant idea, innovative thinking and sheer chutzpah have helped Verbicio and their unique product Exam Voice stand out in the excitement that perpetually sparkles at the Startup Village. The Exam Voice idea was first propounded in the classrooms of the Model Engineering College at Thrikakkara by ex-student of computer science and present co-founder and CEO of Verbicio, Midhun Sankar. He and his friend Bibin George Varghese, who is now the co-founder and COO, were sure that their idea of setting up a free online tutorial portal which would give students guidance on how to crack competitive exams with the help of slideshare, PDF and voice was bound to be a sure fire success.
The Journey to Verbicio & Exam Voice: Success does not come automatically with a good idea. Rather, one has to have the confidence and courage to act on it. Sankar and Varghese were initially unable to find backers to finance their project. Undaunted, they decided to seek ways to create their own resources. The duo kept the idea of Exam Voice on the backburner and entered the competitive world of selling advertising space. Their strategy was to focus on a niche segment – selling advertising space in internet cafes and info park cafeterias. Their fledgling marketing business was strengthened when they joined hands with a former colleague Joel Varghese, who is now the co-founder and COO of Verbicio. The three of them built up a steady clientele and generated enough revenue to give them hope that one day their dream project Exam Voice would see the light of the day.
Verbicio Takes Off: Their contract at the Infopark, Kochi brought them in close contact with the Infopark CEO. They were encouraged to set up their own office at the Startup Village, a government funded initiative in association with Infosys co-founder, Kris Gopalakrishnan. The concept is to provide space to hundreds of budding entrepreneurs to set up office with access to high speed broadband and potential angel investors. Verbicio was set up in a 1000 square feet office as a limited liability partnership. The three partners took onboard Satya, an IIM graduate, who is the co-founder and CMO. The fifth partner to sign up was Nakul Sibiraj, who is the technical expert and has the title of co-founder and CTO.
Developing Exam Voice: Nakul Sibiraj worked on developing Exam Voice, even as Midhun, Bibin and Joel dealt with the legal and financial hurdles involved in setting up a company. Satya focused on getting more investors. The technical team spent sleepless nights smoothening out the glitches, reviewing and uploading content to make the portal ready. Exam Voice was launched on October 9, 2012 and succeeded in making an immediate impact.
How does Exam Voice Work? Exam Voice is an educational platform created by students, for students. Students can refer to it for guidance, tips, questions & answers while preparing for GMAT, CAT, GRE and other competitive exams. Anyone can upload information as slideshows/PDF/image. Information can also be voice recorded and uploaded. What distinguishes Exam Voice from other sites is that it has taken the concept of slide sharing to the next level. The overlay of voice over written content helps in better retention of the topic. The site also has multiple language options. The use of a local language like Malayalam greatly helps students to understand concepts.
The portal is now accessible on computers and mobiles. There are plans to launch an SMS based version whereby a student messages a particular keyword, and instantly receives a voice mail delivered free to his mobile. Exam Voice plans to ramp up its operations soon to expand to other regions as well, delivering on the promise to provide easily accessible, syllabus specific and multi-lingual information to students across India, and even beyond.
Verbicio has thrived ever since setting up base at the Startup Village. The atmosphere in the office is electrifying, as plans for a tie-up with Vodafone and ideas to take Verbicio and Exam Voice on the national stage are fervently discussed. Given the intensity involved, this start-up should soon well be on the way to greater success.