Earlier this month, a leading Indian business magazine released its inaugural list of “BW Disrupt 30 under 30”, celebrating the start-up, entrepreneur and intrapreneur communities. One among the “30 under 30” includes Hyderabad entrepreneur Sreekar Sannapareddy, who’d co-founded Gradvine, an education consulting service, with Suraj Peri in 2017.
Talking to us about how great an honour this feels to him, Sreekar said, “I am thrilled to be featured in a periodical that has featured many personalities I’ve idolised,” ascribing his success to his family and wife, Aditi.
Having pursued Master’s in engineering management from a US Ivy League university, Dartmouth College, Sreekar, whose father is a businessman, always aspired to be an entrepreneur himself. While studying at Dartmouth, he learnt many values of entrepreneurship and shaped and transformed his personality. While in college, he also got to interact with various entrepreneurs, which further strengthened his aspirations to start his own firm.
“I was deeply inspired to set up my own company. Moreover, both my father and his cousin, BVR Mohan Reddy, tech entrepreneur and the current chairman of NASSCOM, also encouraged and mentored me to take up the entrepreneurship plunge,” recollects Sreekar.
Back home into enterprise
So, when Sreekar returned from the US, he lost no time setting up Gradvine in 2017. The idea of starting a business in EdTech sector arose from his personal experiences such that he wanted to solve the problem of choosing from career options and give it a structure through his company.
“I remember when I completed graduation there weren’t many options other than engineering and medicine, but now there is a wide range of career options to choose from. I was determined to start a business in EdTech to assist students explore diverse career opportunities to choose from,” he elaborates.
His company, Gradvine, is one of biggest education consulting & career guidance business. “We are an online platform where we guide students who wanted to go abroad and study; we help them get access to various universities for pursuing various courses,” explains Sreekar, stating that they act as a bridge between students and university/colleges.
The young businessman reveals that he and his Gradvine co-founder Suraj were friends and engineering batch mates. “Although after engineering we went to different universities, we stayed in touch and kept exchanging ideas. It helped that both of us were like-minded. So, when I bounced off the idea of an EdTech business, to Suraj, he liked it and was game to join me,” the 28-year-old says. While Sreekar is responsible for the company’s strategic marketing, his partner Suraj handles the technology aspects related to the enterprise.
Finding growth in a slump
Like every business, Sreekar was worried wondering how tough the going will be. “I was even planning to cut down the salaries and staff,” he recalls. But much to his surprise, the firm started doing better! “A lot of people started approaching us online for career consulting services,” says Sreekar.
Today, his fast-growing company reaches out to over 4,000 customers from over 20 countries. “COVID-19 has been a blessing for EdTech businesses. It was something I’d never expected,” he adds as he signs off.