“I wish I could dance” – is something you can hear a lot of people saying. And rightly so. Dance is such a free spirited, liberating experience that everyone of us should be able to feel. You feel great, you learn an art form and you get rid of your stress as well.
But till around two to three years back you would have needed to find a place close to your home to go and learn the art. While deciding to learn you would need to take so many things into consideration, from distance to timings to the experts available. More often than not you would have found a coaching class of your choice quite a distance away. As a result your dream of learning and enrolling for that course would have remained a dream.
But not anymore. There are a multitude of startups that have come up in the online dance coaching space in the last year or so and the one that stands out amongst them is UnCanji. They have super teachers teaching you a variety of dance forms, flexible timings and great customer support.
Bangalore Insider recently got in touch with Divanshi Gupta, Founder & CEO, Ucanji to talk about the venture and how it aims to empower every person to have access to quality dance lessons. Below are the excerpts of the interview.
Give a brief info about your Startup?
To create a one-stop solution accessible and available to all, we built Ucanji, a cloud-based tech platform, to ensure that learners have a range of options to try and then finally choose the ones they want to pursue. Here, we are building the Netflix for learning – pay once a month and binge on unlimited courses. We want to build a leading skill learning platform that provides AI based skill learning journey guidance with opportunity for real time interaction and personalized learning so that the learner can pursue what his heart desires and when it desires. Learning at its own pace for all. The platform aims to connect even the remotest of the students across the globe with the best teachers. By making skill learning accessible, we will be able to nurture the minds of students from any economic strata.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
As a child, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to learn various skills and train professionally. My mother has been my inspiration behind everything I have achieved so far including the Prabhakar degree in Kathak, learning different dance forms over the years, senior diploma in vocal music, senior diploma in art and much more. While she was giving my dreams the wings to fly, her dreams and careers were taking a back seat, as I grew up, the struggles my parents faced, prompted me to dive deeper to access this problem and understand the struggle of the parents to find skill learning classes nearby with structured teaching or quality of education, especially working parents. I wanted more than ever now to make sure that more and more children could experience the joy of learning. Hence all the research and ideations led to the formation and establishment of Ucanji, with this novel tech platform, I aim to realise the dreams of millions with simple affordable, available and accessible skill development solution.
You managed to cross 1 million users in just under one year, what was the strategy you used for the same?
People are now realizing the potential of skill development platforms. In recent times, many people across the globe have unlocked their skills to become lifelong learners. Ucanji aspires to make skill learning accessible virtually. Subscribers can sign in and learn the skill anytime and anywhere. The subscribers can sign in one time and can enjoy access to an infinite amount of dance videos. While developing this consumer-based app, we did a well-detailed market analysis. Talked to the potential subscribers and integrated their thought processes. We have considered every consumer feedback and evolved the app accordingly. We live by the mantra “if your product is good, the subscribers’ recommendation will be your biggest marketing tactic.”
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this Startup?
Like acing a dance form with complete perfection, the journey of Ucanji has been nothing short of reaching the moon. My ultimate goal was to make skill learning available to millions. Hence I initially launched a platform to bridge the gap between those who wanted to learn and those who wanted to teach. However, to bring the same joy of learning that I had the opportunity to experience, I launched Ucanji, an on demand skill learning platform. It has always been my biggest dream.
Where is your start-up based? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
Ucanji is based out of Gurgaon. We chose a space in this city primarily because, in recent times, it has emerged as a financial and technological hub for MNCs and start-ups. Gurgaon is the country’s startup capital. The urban crowd of this place plays a major role in turning this city into a very promising incubator for start-ups.
As a start-up founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
My parents often ask me the same question – what keeps me awake at night. Well, the general belief is you lose your sleep when you are disturbed, but on the contrary, for me, it is my drive and passion to achieve new milestones every day that keeps me awake.
I am extremely happy about the way my entrepreneurial journey has shaped up so being paranoid is certainly out of question but yes, thinking about new opportunities and then turning them into reality does keep me awake some nights. But, then why sleep and dream when you can stay awake and achieve.
Who are your competitors and how are you better than them?
We don’t have direct competitors as of now. Our platform provides an opportunity to learners to explore their passion and pursue the skills that their heart wants. Learners can now enjoy, uniquely guided learning journey, tailored to an individual’s abilities and needs.
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a start-up founder and how do you manage it?
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If not then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
Well, honestly, managing and ensuring that Ucanji is thriving is an overwhelming task but is it even worth it if it comes easy? I try to balance out my personal and professional life by starting early and then planning the day accordingly – both personal and professional.
We are a fast-growing skill learning platform and we have touched hearts of over 1 Million learners and increasing every day. There’s a lot in store for the Ucanji users. We are looking forward to raising funding, in talks with couple of investors.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
I haven’t come across any misconceptions about me, but yes, if there are any, I encourage my family, friends, and colleagues to be open about it via transparent communication.
What gets you excited about this company?
As I said, I always dreamt of creating a platform that aims to take Skill Learning to the Grassroot Level. We want to empower life-long learners to achieve their fullest potential by providing them a platform that provides ease of learning skills online, localised content and personalized experience. With Ucanji, I have brought this dream to life and I think our users consisting of both parents and students would second me in this.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
Quite honestly, my days are so busy that I often lose track of time but I like it this way because I can see my dreams turning into reality. I wake up around 5 AM and practice Meditation first thing in the morning. It keeps me healthy, happy and focused on my work. I then plan my day and my meetings, keeping in mind the ongoing projects. I love my family to the moon and back hence I also make sure that I spend some time with them every day. This is the reason why I ensure that I am having dinner with them at least 4-5 times a week, helping me unwind.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
Our team is unified with a common vision and goal to create an impact through skill education and to contribute towards holistic development at an early stage at grassroot level. There is just one word to describe my team – impeccable. My team comprises people from different walks of life and their stories not just intrigue me but inspire me as well. Each and every one of them works dedicatedly around the clock to give quality work. After all, it’s with a team like this you can achieve your dream so effortlessly.