Vivek Kumar, originally from a small village in Uttar Pradesh, has fought many battles to build his brand which today provides mentoring to thousands of young aspiring government jobs – ranging from prestigious public service to various positions in the defense services, railways and the UP state police.
A few years ago, the 29-year-old nearly lost the business he had so painstakingly built when a company he partnered with took over the rights to his YouTube channel and demanded 2.5 rupee crores to return it to him.
|Vivek Kumar (right) started posting educational videos to You Tube from his village in Uttar Pradesh and started Exampur as an edtech company after moving to Delhi (Photos: Special arrangement)|
The way he raised the money, reclaimed his chain and rebuilt his business into a Rs 24million turnover business is as inspiring as his journey from a village in UP to the nation’s capital where he runs a team of 600 employees, including 200 teachers.
Vivek is the founder of Exampur, which started as a You Tube channel in June 2018 from his village, where he was then preparing for the physical exam after passing the written exam for the sub-inspector of the police station of the ‘Uttar Pradesh.
He never imagined at the time that he would reject the letter of appointment for the sub-inspector position and instead focus on building Exampur as a large company employing many other tutors.
“It was my father’s dream to see me as a public servant,” says Vivek. “So I started to prepare for various government exams after my M.Tech. ”
Vivek was born in Kondu, a small village in Bulandshahr district in UP. He is the oldest of four siblings. He has a younger sister and twin brothers.
Her father serves in the Indian Navy as a sipahi and her mother is a farmer.
As a young boy he was running away from school, but his grandfather made sure his reading and math skills were excellent.
|Vivek with Vardaan (right), co-founder, Exampur|
“I studied at the village school until the eighth grade. I was afraid to go to school, because I used to be beaten by the teachers.
“So I would tidy up the school, I would hide on the farms, I would go for a walk during school hours and I would come home at night,” Vivek recalls of his childhood in the pastoral setting of his village.
“But my grandfather taught me the subjects daily for two to three hours at home. He taught me basic math, reading and translating from English to Hindi and vice versa. So even though I didn’t go to school, I still did well.
His interest in studying changed after his family transferred him to an English middle school in the town of Bulandshahr in a grade nine.
“In this school, we had an appropriate uniform and the teachers taught well. And I was not beaten here. I started to like my school because I could wear a tie, unlike the village school where we went casually, ”says Vivek.
“Although it is an English school, the teachers taught in Hindi and I was able to cope. I became active in extracurricular activities, overcame the language barrier and honed my skills.
He then completed his B.Tech in Computer Science (2010-14) at IIMT, Greater Noida. At that time, her family was in financial difficulty, and Vivek began teaching other students to earn extra money.
After his M.Tech, he focused on making his father’s dream of getting a good job in government come true.
“I went to Delhi to join a coaching center. In October 2017, I decided to teach part-time in the same institute where I was preparing, ”says Vivek, retracing his career as a teacher and then as a You Tube coach.
“I had to be thorough in my subject to allay the doubts of the students. I started to love teaching and realized it was a noble way to give back to society.
|With internet penetration expected to increase in India in the coming years, more Indians are likely to join online coaching courses (Photo for representation purposes only)|
Meanwhile, in December 2017, the results of the sub-inspector’s review came out and Vivek approved it. He decided to return to his village to prepare for the physical exam, as there were large open spaces where he could train.
“In June 2018, I started making YouTube videos on important topics for the sub-inspector exam, and they became an instant hit with students as I was teaching in the vernacular,” he says. .
“In a few months, I had 2.5 lakh of subscribers and I was earning Rs 30 to 40,000 each month.
“In October 2018, I decided to move to Delhi because I was having connectivity issues in my village. At that time, I had a team of 10 members with me and we were teaching various subjects.
In Delhi, an educational portal invested Rs 5 lakh in the business and they bought high-end laptops, computers and cameras. “I invested Rs 90,000. They took care of the technical aspects while I took care of the content.
They rented an apartment in Indra Vikas settlement in Mukherjee Nagar, on the outskirts of Delhi. “We used a room for accommodation, where about 15 of our teachers stayed. The other two rooms were used to record videos, ”explains Vivek.
In January 2019, the channel had one million subscribers. It was then that he learned that he had been selected for the post of sub-inspector. He decided not to join and instead focus on his business.
When he ran into problems with the partner company, Vivek decided to part ways with it. Since the company now owned the YouTube rights to the channel, it demanded 2.5 million rupees to return it to them.
Vivek turned to Vardaan Gandhi, who would later become its co-founder, and the duo decided to create an app and let students know about new classes they were planning to start.
They told the students that the fees they would pay would help them buy back their YouTube channel.
“Vardaan also pooled money, and we bought our channel within a month, and in July 2019, we became the channel owner,” says Vivek, recounting the most difficult phase of his entrepreneurial journey.
They moved their office to a large 9,000 square foot (rented) office in Burari and began offering coaching to candidates for more competitive exams including the IAS and IPS.
Although there are 25 channels today with a total of 9.5 million subscribers across all Exampur channels, their app has been downloaded by over 2.5 million unique users.
Their turnover, which was Rs 4.5 crore in 2019-2020, increased to Rs 24 crore during the 2020-21 pandemic.
“In the years to come, the internet will penetrate Indian villages, so we can expect vernacular learning to be the need of the hour. Over the next three years, 55 million people will join the Internet, and we are targeting 5 million potential students among them, ”said Vardaan, who is in charge of marketing for Exampur.
What is clear is that Vivek’s journey that began in a small village in the UP is destined to take him even higher in the years to come, as he and his team seek to help realize the career dreams of millions of young people.