EP#65 Aditya Kulkarni – Building Stoa: India’s alternative to a traditional MBA, leveraging early-stage investors and scaling a profitable edtech business

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In this episode, Aditya Kulkarni (Co-founder & CEO, Stoa), joins our host Digjay, to talk about his past experience as an edtech entrepreneur, meeting his co-founder Raj and stumbling upon the idea of building Stoa, the value proposition of Stoa’s alternative MBA program, building community as a moat, fundraising philosophy at Stoa, leveraging investors in the 0 to 1 phase, the importance of aligning incentives of internal teams with the broader vision of the company as you scale the business, and more.

Stoa School is building India’s alternative to a traditional MBA. The program helps students pick up skills in domains like Product, Marketing, Leadership, Finance, General Management and subsequently helps them find job opportunities within India’s growing startup ecosystem. Since inception, the startup has enrolled 700+ students across several cohorts and has become a sought after program for early-stage professionals looking to level up their career trajectory. Stoa is backed by marquee operators and investors like Udemy and Maven co-founder Gagan Biyani, Better Capital founder Vaibhav Domkundwar, Teachable co-founder Ankur Nagpal, NotBoring Media founder Packy McCormick, Dunce Capital investor John Danner and Zivame co-founder Richa Kar.

An IIM-B and BITS Pilani alum, Aditya is a decadal edtech entrepreneur who has built and sold two startups (Learning Outcomes - acquired by Liga EduTech and BabyOnBoard - acquired by RoundGlass) in the past. You can connect with Aditya here on Linkedin / Twitter.

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Show notes –

  1. (01:59) Aditya’s background & past experience as an ed-tech founder
  2. (09:05) Meeting his co-founder Raj and stumbling upon the idea of building Stoa
  3. (16:38) The value proposition of the Stoa program
  4. (21:58) Building community as a moat
  5. (27:54) Fundraising philosophy at Stoa
  6. (33:34) Leveraging investors in the 0 to 1 phase
  7. (37:09) Setting up the ‘students-educators-jobs’ flywheel in action
  8. (41:14) Scaling up - Importance of aligning incentives of internal teams with the broader vision of the company
  9. (46:29) Rapid fire and closing remarks

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If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any podcast platform of your choice (like Spotify & Apple iTunes). We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Spotify or Apple iTunes. This helps others discover the podcast organically. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay here on Linkedin & Twitter

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