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Hyderabad: Students get universal digital platform

Charan Lakkaraju
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Charan Lakkaraju

Highlights

Stumagz started as an idea Charan Lakkaraju had while he was conducting a training programme for students

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Stumagz started as an idea Charan Lakkaraju had while he was conducting a training programme for students. He identified and witnessed first-hand the advantage and potential of reaching out to students directly and not through a specific advertising channel.

As the first step, he and his team set out to provide a platform for these students. "Many colleges don't have a newsletter or a publication of any form. The ones that do, publish something sporadically. The need for such a platform to unite all students was obvious. Stumagz, aims to give the student community a voice, a place where they can express themselves – to be noticed by their peers," says Charan in an exclusive interview to Sabya Singh

What led you to start Stumagz and how is it unique?

It's been a 5-year journey and it was started with a notion of democratization opportunity. The whole point of democratization for the team was to show how we can bring more opportunities for tier-1 and tier-2 students who did not discover brands or companies for the right opportunity they deserve in their colleges.

What does the name Stumagz mean?

The name of the company Stumagz is self-explanatory- students magazine. It comprises a career section, events, storyboard, events, dashboard, people can list their events, sell tickets and magazines once discover it other colleges can see too. Through Stumagz, we aim to give the student community a voice, a place where they can express themselves – to be noticed by their peers. Students can write stories or articles, which need to be approved by their college.

What is the modus operandi of Stumagz? How do you reach out to the students?

Stumagz has formed a team of volunteers within each college (faculty and students) that are tasked with editing and approving content written by students from their college. Once approved, Stumagz publishes the story on their site. An extension to this is the feature, where one can create projects. A student can put up a project and the help they need – perhaps some help on Java coding or a front end designer. The third feature includes creating events on the website. In short: Stories, Events and Projects. A collective voice that students can benefit from. We grew to 3 lakhs 20 students and 300 colleges

Are schools encouraging it?

When we approached colleges, people used to ask us funny questions such as why do we need a digital campus? Post pandemic it became more relevant, people understood the importance of digital, which engaged every student. It worked because he and his team gave right opportunities for students and now they grew bigger in numbers.

What benefits will colleges and students get if they collaborate with your start up?

Most of the colleges have a default website; colleges will get their own digital footprint. Students get exposed to offers from brands, networking from other college students, get to know more about events of other colleges. Students may not get opportunity in their own college and Stumagz helps them discover the right opportunity.

Tell us something about your experience of starting up. Was the going smooth or you had to face some impediments?

It was not an easy path, to take up the plan. When we look from a perspective of running a start up, the tough part is how do we convince someone or make them believe in a start-up. The most important part is to make the customer understand the value proposition. To earn the trust of people that one will provide a right opportunity to them; especially for younger start ups it is difficult. This is the phase every start up has to go through during the process.

Are the Government policies entrepreneur friendly and do you think that a common man with good ideas can easily launch his start up or is it a complicated process?

It is a favorable time for a lot of start-ups to take things forward. The government is creating a friendly environment because start-ups have to do everything on their own. The government is a just catalyst.

How to get the right mentorship?

There are government-sponsored incubators where you get right mentorship and funds for start-ups to scale more. It is better now as compared to previous days. With proper market research a common man can start themselves and focus on Market intelligence. Without proper data in hand it is risky to take steps if you don't extract the right values from it.

What challenges did you face? What are the expected barriers or risks about a start up and how one should be prepared for it?

Firstly, Capital is a basic big hurdle; Secondly, idea validation, people validating with a right set of customers is crucial if one doesn't validate properly the whole purpose is lost. Three things are essential to remember when starting a start-up : Money, mentoring, meeting the right connection or industrial experts who can guide you which saves a lot of time and money if you meet the right person to seek guidance.

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