e27 catches up with Asya Orazova of Postupionline.com at Echelon Central Asia and learns of the startup’s scrappy origins and future plans
While we were in Kazakhstan for Echelon Central Asia, we managed to catch up with a number of local entrepreneurs to learn more about what they’re up to.
We spoke to Asya Orazova, Founder and CEO, Postupionline.com, a web portal that links students with universities. She spent several years in Malaysia and Singapore before returning to Kazakhstan in to work on her startup that targets students in Central Asia.
Here are the edited excerpts:
Can you tell us more about yourself?
I run a portal where students can submit applications to universities online. I’ve been running it since August this year, and I’m based between Kazakhstan and Singapore.
It’s easier to be in Singapore, in terms of regulations and registrations. It’s also a good place to be for the startup ecosystem, rather than Kazakhstan.
How has it been since you launched?
We’ve been growing at 100 per cent every month in terms of leads.
How does it work? I’m a student, I go on your website, what do I do on there?
You find a university online. You compare the programme, you look at the fees and how to apply. And then, you submit an application online. So, you are able to do the entire process, from application to pre-arrival meetings and so on, online.
Also Read: A quick peek at Kazakhstan’s startup scene
You can find everything online, how to gather what documents you need, how to apply for visas, and then, you can ask questions if you need to. Or you can directly submit your application, then the process starts.
How many people are there in your company?
There are four of us, and we’re spread across the region and in Singapore. I have a team in Ukraine, here (Kazakhstan) and in Singapore.
It sounds like you need a lot of time and effort to coordinate this sort of process for students. How do you scale?
We are able to connect students directly and we know how to apply to the universities. Since the information is online, we don’t need a lot of time explaining to each and every student how to apply and so on.
We’re able to convert the students faster and we’re also able to consult the student faster because [all the information is] written instead of verbal. It’s much easier.
How do you generate revenue?
We charge a commission for every student from the university. Our commission is about US$1,000 to US$2,000 for every student, depending on the university and programme that they apply to. Since we charge on a transactional basis, rather than the leads, the fees are much higher, but we need more time to convert the student.
Basically, we execute the entire process for the university. Because when the university receives leads from Russian websites, it’s very hard for them to convert because the students speak only Russian, and the university can’t translate every single application.
But we at Postupionline.com, understand the system in both countries and we’re able to consult with these students more efficiently. We can actually convert them and provide better service.
Where are the students based out of?
We’re looking at the entire region (Central Asia) including Ukraine and Russia. As for the universities, we have eight countries at the moment. We’re spreading from Europe to US to Australia, and we’re expanding constantly. We’re putting up two new countries per month.
If you were able to wish for anything, what would you wish for?
I would wish to hit the target. We want to be number one in countries like Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. That’s where the largest student populations are, for the universities we recruit for.
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