Hyderabad based ed-tech startup WeMakeScholars is one among 5 winners in the Silicon Valley Challenge USA. This challenge was organised by Action For India (AFI) in New Delhi. The startup award received the award from Mr. Amitabh Kant, Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) – Government of India (also known as AK-47 for Startups), Mr. Sam Pitroda (Former Advisor to PM), Mr. Dilip Modi (Founder Spice mobile), Mr. Shiv Khemka (Vice Chairman- SUN Group) and Mr. Sanjay Kadeveru (founder Action for India).
WeMakeScholars.com (WMS) is a study opportunities search and discovery platform providing information on everything related to global education.
The winners win an all-paid trip to Silicon Valley where they get to meet with top tech executives, marquee VCs, prominent Indian Americans and academicians. Out of a 100 applicants, 10 were chosen as finalists, this list was further pruned to 5 winners by an eminent jury.
Last year, the trip involved meetings with CXOs of Google, Cisco among others, while, this year the trip would mostly be interacting with Sundar Pichai, Rick Levin, Anant Agarwal to name a few. The organizers may also the startup’s founders in putting up a request to get an appointment with Bill gates, as his previous activities (including personal & via Bill & Melinda gates foundation) shows his keenness on mentoring/funding startups with global social impact (this is not yet official though).
WeMakeScholars is not just the youngest team winning this award but its co-founder and CEO Damini Mahajan is only women entrepreneur among the top 5 winners.
Founded in 2015, WeMakeScholars was an idea originated with the struggle founders – Damini and Arjun Radha Krishna, had, while searching for scholarships for their masters in 2012. Later, Arjun received the prestigious UK Govt. Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Scholarship which fully funded his studies, including visa, airfare, tuition costs, monthly stipend & a meeting with David Cameron (British PM) at 10 Downing Street. And, Damini received “Developing Solutions Master’s Scholarship” which covered 50 % of the tuition fee. This was when they started an online community to fill the gap between available opportunities and students knowing about it. The community grew exponentially to 160K members over a span of one year and its members requested to build a dedicated platform to keep data more organised & upto date. Hence, WeMakeScholars was born.
WeMakeScholars was launched by Dr. Shashi Tharoor, ex- Under Secretary General of United Nations on 29th April, 2015.
The startup claims that it platform has been used by 550,000 unique users from 214 countries in first 7 months of its launch in the ratio- India (30 %), Pakistan (12.5%), United States (6.5%), Egypt (5%), Bangladesh (5%), Germany (4%) followed by Malaysia, Italy, Sweden and Myanmar (Burma) in top 10.
Currently, the startup team has 28 members from 12 nationalities out of which 8 are full-time onsite employees.