According to Katherine, “In 2020, my co-founder Kavitta B Bedi, an entrepreneur in the children’s space whose daughter underwent the college admissions process in 2019, and I, an education advisor, realised that there must be a better way for students to demonstrate who they really were beyond school marks, test scores, college essays and application forms.” Thus, Xtraview was born.
Xtraview aims to tackle the challenges students and institutions face when it comes to admissions. Students feel limited in the information they can share in a written application. Admissions officers, on the other hand, want to learn more about students in their own words. Xtraview offers a one-of-its-kind digital platform that allows students to record and share unscripted digital interviews alongside their written applications.
Older students (college age and Master’s students) can also record and submit interviews to internships, job recruiters, and other academic programs.
We also offer Xtraprep workshops, which prepare high school and college students to ace their digital interviews and interactions. The workshops cover 15 key points to excel in digital interactions. For job applicants, there is an additional module which features 5 points to perfect your elevator pitch. Following the workshop, students go through a live, recorded interview, and receive feedback from expert trainers.
We started Xtraview smack in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, so there was a lot of uncertainty about how the market would respond.
But so far, we’ve seen a tremendous response, in part because the business model addresses needs that have arisen due to the pandemic – online communication is now inevitable, and people need to build the skills to successfully communicate in this new digital medium. Because people can no longer travel, universities and institutions have had no choice but to resort to digital interviews and assessments, meaning the market was also more receptive to our model.
However, because this is a new concept in the Indian market, we had to devote a large part of our initial efforts to educating people to the need for this product – showing them why soft skills like communication were critical to future success, and not secondary to academics.
Institutional partnerships also took longer than we had anticipated, in part because institutional timelines are very long, especially when it comes to making any major changes in their processes.
It’s been a good lesson in developing patience, and learning how to go after bigger, longer term goals, than abandoning those for every small opportunity that comes along.And it’s been worth it to gain the trust of students and institutions, who rely on us to help carry out a part of their admissions process.
Looking ahead, we have several exciting plans in the works in terms of institutional partnerships. We’re also always modifying our products to better serve and address market needs.
EdTech in India is on the brink of a boom, and we are uniquely poised at the intersection of several sectors, including education, technology, skill-building/upskilling, and evaluation tools.
With no other competitors in India, we have the first mover advantage. We are also a virtual company. This not only makes our market worldwide, but also means that we do not have significant overhead costs or strict corporate rules, which saves time, money and creates a flexible workplace.
Demand for both Indian domestic and international higher education remains strong. Additionally, as graduates struggle to find a foothold in the job market, there has been greater recognition of the need for soft skills training, including the digital communication and interaction training and evaluation that Xtraview offers. This puts us in a unique and exciting position to train and empower the next generation of leaders and communicators.