Mentrio: Where students find their college mentors !!


Mentrio

Headquartered in Canada, Mentrio is a web portal to connect students with the alumni of the leading universities from US and Canada (the aim is to have alumni from around the globe).

With so many universities around the globe offering multiple courses, it is tough to keep a track of the latest trend. There is no source of being 100% sure of the ground reality in different countries and the demand of a course.

According to the studentedge.org survey of 2017 the one thing students’ need the most is MENTORSHIP and GUIDANCE.

Platforms on which the app is available:

  1. Website

We will cover the below aspects of the project:

The aim here is to help you make more informed decisions in terms of features and find the right IT parents, hence saving you from paying extra or getting duped by fake companies. By Sales consultancy we want to educate you with tested strategies to acquire your initial clients.

  • IT Review:
    1. Pre-Requisites
    2. Understanding the problem from the user’s perspective
    3. Hidden Challenges
    4. Behaviour of the target audience
    5. Adding feature for acquiring client after launch: Our USP
  • Project Management

    1. Documents Required
    2. Graphic Designing
    3. Selecting the Development Team

  • Sales Consultancy
    1. Deciding the target audience
    2. Selecting the country
    3. Best places to find target audience
    4. Getting Users on Board

Mentrio Features

IT Review:

The value is pretty straight forward, students often face the challenges while planning for my higher education. They need some sources of “Awareness and Ground Reality” , and Mentrio bring it with a personal touch.

The challenge is that on one side we have fickle minded students, and on other we have senior position holder professionals of estimated universities.

  • Pre-Requisites
  • Before you reach out to any development team you should have the below things ready with you. This will help the IT partner to understand you perspective better and avoid any possibility of confusion

    Don’t worry your IT partner will correct you and give appropriate solution when required.

    1. Document, mentioning all your requirement/thoughts. Simple layman language would do.
    2. Reference website with similar feature, if any.
    3. Reference website for your designs preference.

  • Understanding the problem users face:
  • Our target was to make it attractive, fast and give more information with minimal design, hence ensuring the credibility of the platform to the target audiences.

    Mentor:
    1. They have limited time,
    2. No visibility to students who need help,
    3. Managing payment flow,
    4. Mode of communication,
    5. Demanding money for their time (consciously awkward),
    Student:
    1. Want to know the ground reality of the college,
    2. Unable to find which alumni is ready to help ,
    3. Need secure way to pay the demanded money,
    4. Nowhere to compare the standards of the alumni,
    5. Finding relevant mentor is very time consuming,
    6. Mode of communication,

  • Hidden Challenges in development
    1. Booking Timeslot Management:
    2. The main challenge to the complete project is the booking system. If a student is sitting in China and trying to see the timeslots of an alumni in USA, then the timeslot entered by the alumni needs to be adjusted to the timeslot of the student.

      It is tougher than it sounds because the timezone for a few countries keep changing every few months, its called the Day-Light Effect. If the IT Company doing it is aware of such effect they can easyly manage it, otherwise it could be a huge pain.

    3. Video calling through Mobile Browser:
    4. The other challenge is to have the video calling feature run through the browser, even if used from a mobile browser.

  • Behaviour of Target Audiences:
  • Targeting relevant students is super fun. You can find that in the Sales section below.

    1. Mentors:
      • Major Country of International Student:
        USA, UK, and Australia
      • Most used apps/ websites for references of comfortable feature:
        • UK: Tripadvisor (Booking), Amazon (listing) ,Reddit (Information)
        • USA: Facebook, Google, FB Messenger
        • Australia: Ebay, LinkedIn, Reddit
    2. Students:
      • Major Places where International Students come from:
        China, India, Saudi Arabia and South Korea
      • How is the information acquired
        Through local coachings, Websites, Forum and asking random people on social media.
      • Most used apps/websites for reference of comfortable feature:
        • China: WeChat (business), Mobile Baidu (Searching) ,QQ (Chatting)
        • India: Facebook, Google, Whatsapp
        • South Korea: KakaoTalk, Korail, Itour Seoul
      • Language convenience:
        Most are comfortable with English.

  • Final Features:
  • Feature to Acquire users: OUR USP

    Mentrio uses a feature called Mentrio Fund where on each booking Mentrio donates some fund to the charity which supports the under-privileged kids with studies.

    Features:

    Mentor:

    1. Mentor login through LinkedIn to capture professional information
    2. Adding per hour cost
    3. Adding available timeslots with timezone
    4. Notification of events

    Student

    1. Search and filter mentors based on categories
    2. Booking timeslots with online payment
    3. Attending 1-1 video call from web and mobile browsers
    4. Notification of events

Here is an example of the Flow Diagram of similar website.

Mentrio Student flow

Project Management:

As a policy, I only act as the Project Manager for my clients. I do not build the projects or have in-house developers. This enables me to find the best company at the right cost for my clients without any alternate intentions.

As a Project Manager we handle the Designing, Development, follow-ups, timely delivery, feedbacks and all the project related management. While for clients it is only us who are answerable. Single point of contact.

I have a network of tried and tested 50+ companies/developers across the globe for different budgets and requirements.

  1. Documenting the requirement :
  2. These are the minimum documents that I take from my vendors to check if they have truly understood the requirement ensuring smooth delivery.

    Lot of time, in the haste of closing the deal or in the laziness to do extra effort, vendors don’t give their clients these document which results in confusion and problems at the time of delivery.

    • Change Request Document
    • Flow Diagram
    • Here is an example of the Flow Diagram of similar website.

      Mentrio Flow Diagram

    • User Case Diagram
    • Prototype

  3. Graphic designer:
    • Wire-framing:
    • Rough sketch of where will the different element be placed on the screens of the application.

    • Prototype:
    • In-Vision tool helps to create a good prototype. Before starting a development you should have the exact experience on how would your application feel like once it is created.

      In-Vision has commenting facility which helps the client to easily communicate their thoughts on the minor details of the design with precision to the designer.

  4. Selecting the Development Team:
  5. The way I do it is, I intentionally give half information and create loopholes to check how good the development company is to whom I am planning to outsource the project. Company’s ability to think of innovative ways and how quickly they can catch the loopholes , is a test of their talent.

    Criteria:

    1. IMPORTANT: Worked on multiple-timezone based bookings,
    2. MOST IMPORTANTLY: Have worked on running video calling through mobile browsers.
    3. Ability to spot the intentionally placed loopholes,
    4. Company which satisfies the technology stack,
    5. Handled Payment gateway,
    6. Worked on Marketplace model,

Sales Consultancy :

We help start-ups to acquire initial users / client. It was one of the occasions when I agreed to be involved more than just being a strategist to acquire clients. After 15 days of research, we formed realistic goals for next 3 months. Putting a number on the strategy helps in being target oriented and more focused.

My role was Student Acquisition. That basically means lot of meetings.

Tooreest Milestone

  • Understanding the project:
  • The concept is the student from anywhere across the globe should be able to come to the portal and find a relevant person based on different filters. Once the student finalizes the mentor he should be able to book a 1-to-1 video call with the person as per a mutually convenient time.

    The mentor should be able to showcase his availability on the portal without too much hassle and decided how much he would like to be paid for the services.

    1. Deciding the target audience
    2. Unlike the others projects, the target audience for this project was very specific.

      In students, we are looking specifically for the ones planning to travel abroad for studies. In alumnus, we are looking to on-board the candidates who would prefer to guide students against some fixed charges.

    3. Selecting the Country:
    4. Since Mentrio cater to international audiences it is important to start with one country make it profitable and then move to the next.

      India ranks second in terms of number of students who opt for international education and my local presence just add to making it the best choice without opposition. India is also an ever growing community of young students travelling abroad to study.

      As for Alumnus, I choose USA since that is where most of the Indian students choose to go for studies.

    5. Getting students on-board:
    6. We took the driving seat while there were 200+ alumnus on-board.

      While brainstorming we came up with 16 different strategies using multiple portals.

      In 1 months we had 50+ bookings on the portal.

      1. Approach Colleges seminars/workshops,
      2. Approach Institutes
      3. Cafe Events
      4. Flyers in colleges
      5. College Fest
      6. GMAT/GRE/IETLS Coaching
      7. Local Eateraies
      8. Malls and Movies
      9. Ads in Cafes
      10. Lounges
      11. Assigning College Ambasidors
      12. Pic Contests
      13. Earn on refers
      14. Ads on RJ’s personal Pages.
      15. College Contest

    7. Brought back to reality
    8. With all the past success in the online platform, we were sure to rock even the offline market as we knew our target audience very well.

      Our very first strategy was to collaborate with the abroad education consultancies. We were sure that they would jump to shake hands as it had a great value proposition.

      However, we failed miserably because, very innocently, we missed to realize that the biggest proposition involved sharing their client (student) data, which obviously none of would agree to.

      Nonetheless, we are entrepreneurs and learn quickly from our experiences, we spotted the problem with our strategy and switched to targeting students.

      We got really close to the deadline, in first 16 days, we had 0 targeted leads. Working aggressively we achieved our target on the 24th days with commitments for next 3 months with target exceeding 500%.

    9. Did something completely different
    10. We knew that it is not something we do very frequently, hence we choose to start with relatively easer audience to convert.

      Strategies:

      • Collaboration with local Education Consultancies
      • Hired college students with attractive return
      • Collaborated with students as a status symbol

      In the 1st month we had 50+ student making the call and the total target of 2000+ bookings in the next 3 months which we are sure to achieve in the next 2 months itself.

    The beauty of doing timely delivery is informing the relation with your clients.

    justify

    no-repeat;center top;;

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    Tooreest: 2500+ downloads in 2 months!!


    Tooreest

    Headquartered in Singapore, Tooreest is a travel-related application to book local people as a guide for different services they offer over multiple locations around the globe.

    Tooreest is a very helpful app for travelers to plan their travel quickly, hire some local guides and book different packages and tickets at cheap rates. It was love at first sight.

    Platforms on which Tooreest app is available:

    1. Android Application
    2. iOS Application
    3. Descriptive Website

    We will cover the below aspects of the project:

    The aim here is to help you make more informed decisions in terms of features and find the right IT partners. It would help in saving extra cost or getting duped by fake companies. By Sales consultancy, we want to educate the buddy entrepreneurs with tested strategies to acquire your initial clients.

    • IT Review:
      1. Pre-Requisites
      2. Understanding the problem from the user’s perspective
      3. Hidden Challenges
      4. Behaviour of the target audience
      5. Adding feature for acquiring client after launch: Our USP
    • Project Management

      1. Documents Required
      2. Graphic Designing
      3. Prototyping
      4. Selecting the Development Team

    • Sales Consultancy
      1. Deciding the target audience
      2. Selecting the country
      3. Best places to find target audience
      4. Getting Users on Board

    Tooreest Guide Features
    Tooreest User Features

    IT Review:

    The moment I heard the idea, I jumped with joy. Being a traveller, I have faced hours of research to decide the right destination and to get relevant booking suggestions for the best-customized experience.

    Tooreest brought exactly solution needed, ability to engage with the local people who are willing to engage at the affordable cost.

    • Pre-Requisites
    • Before you reach out to any development team you should have the below things ready with you. This will help the IT partner to understand you perspective better and avoid any possibility of confusion

      Don’t worry your IT partner will correct you and give appropriate solution when required.

      1. Document, mentioning all your requirement/thoughts. Simple layman language would do.
      2. Reference website with similar feature, if any.
      3. Reference website for your designs preference.

    • Understanding the problem users face:
    • A traveller on average takes a month to decide the location he want to visit. Another 1 month to customize the trip as per his preferences.

      These were the points that matter the most.

      • Security,
      • Verified LOCAL person,
      • Experience,
      • Comfort,
      • Food,
      • Hygine,

      Who could be the best person to help you plan the trip?
      A LOCAL person.

      Who could be the best person to show you around the town with safety?
      Someone with good knowledge of the market. A LOCAL person.

      The decision to divide the guides in categories was critical, for best user experience:

      • Sightseeing,
      • Food, shoping,
      • Hotels,
      • VISAs,
      • Tour Packages, etc.

    • Hidden Challenges :
    • Tooreest is an app catering to international travellers which means it should be usable by people from all geographies, and languages.

      1. Language
      2. Day-Light Effect on timezones
      3. Time Difference
      4. Automating Government ID Verification for different countries
      5. Ease of understanding the Application by different audience
      6. PayPal 3-tier Payment integration

    • Behaviour of Target Audiences:
    • How did we decide which is our target audience? You can find that in the Sales section below.

      In order to create a engage your users you should have a design with which they are already comfortable. For this let us analyse where the target audience resides and which feature are they comfortable with.

      1. Travelers:
        1. Country of the major travelers:
          China, USA, Korea
        2. How is the business done:
          Majorly in cash through agents, or tour package portals.
        3. Most used apps/ websites for references of comfortable feature:
          • China: WeChat (business), Mobile Baidu (Searching) ,QQ (Chatting)
          • USA: Facebook, Google, FB Messenger
          • South Korea: KakaoTalk, Korail, Itour Seoul
      2. Guides and local people:
        • Most used apps/websites for reference of comfortable feature:
          Vietnam: Facebook, Viber, Zalo
        • Language convenience:
          Not very comfortable with English, hence might require a tutorial.

    • Final Features Decision phase:
    • Features to acquire users: USP

      The product was launched in Vietnam. Tooreest had a feature for vendors to request partnership with added benefits (no-extra cost). Since online travellers can be acquired through digital-marketing. Tooreest wanted to capture the offline market without additional cost. Local guides got digital publicity, Tooreest got offline presence + some great content for their social media page, making it achieve 1200+ followers in 3 months.

      Features

      1. Virtual Guides:
      2. Ability to on-demand chat with the guide from relevant category.

      3. Physical Guide:
      4. Ability to hire a person to be with you physically when you reach the destination.

      5. API for Day-Light Effect
      6. Video-tutorial to guide the first time user over the Android and iOS application
      7. PayPal payment gateway
      8. On-boarding process for guides

    Tooreest User flow

    Project Management:

    As a policy, I only act as the Project Manager for my clients. I do not build the projects or have in-house developers. This enables me to find the best company at the right cost for my clients without any alternate intentions.

    As a Project Manager we handle the Designing, Development, follow-ups, timely delivery, feedbacks and all the project related management. While for clients it is only us who are answerable. Single point of contact.

    I have a network of tried and tested 50+ companies/developers across the globe for different budgets and requirements.

    1. Documenting the requirement :
    2. These are the minimum documents that I take from my vendors. It helps in evaluating if they have truly understood the requirement ensuring smooth delivery. Probably the most important thing to ensure smooth delivery without quarrels.

      Lot of time, in the haste of closing the deal or in the laziness to do extra effort, vendors don’t give their clients these document which results in confusion and problems at the time of delivery.

      • Change Request Document
      • Flow Diagram
      • User Case Diagram
      • Prototype

    3. Graphic designer:
      • Wire-framing:
      • Rough sketch of where will the different element be placed on the screens of the application.

      • Prototype:
      • In-Vision tool helps to create a good prototype. Before starting a development you should have the exact experience on how would your application feel like once it is created.

        In-Vision has commenting facility which helps the client to easily communicate their thoughts. With Invision the minor details of the design are captured and delivered with precision to the designer.

    4. Development Team:
    5. The way I do it is, I intentionally give half information and create loopholes to check how good the development company. Company’s ability to think of innovative ways and how quickly they can catch the loopholes is a test of their talent.

      Criteria:
      1. Ability to spot the intentionally placed loopholes,
      2. Company which satisfies the technology stack,
      3. Dealt with multiple time zones in booking feature,
      4. Handled Payment gateway,
      5. Worked on Marketplace model,
      6. MOST IMPORTANTLY: Travels often and loves interacting with people.

    Sales Consultancy :

    In 90% of cases, we make the targets for next 1 year and then divide it into goals for each month. It doesn’t matter if we are working with on a contract for a month, half yearly or annually we would still follow the same process.

    If you are not confident to give a quality to ensure repeat work then what is the sense of working at all.

    We prefer to work only on organic growth and don’t attracting any additional expenditure.

    Tooreest Milestone

    1. Deciding the target audience
    2. Audience is pretty much everyone. Anyone traveling on to celebrate a weekend is potentially our client.

      On the other-hand, we have people who are gregarious enough to show the fellow travelers around the town and the professional tour-guides.

    3. Selecting the Country:
    4. Startups, almost always, have limited resource hence finding a place where there is high acceptance and requirement of the service is critical to a successful launch. Otherwise, you would have to spend bulk on marketing, and awareness to get the audience on-board.

      Don’t limit yourself to the country of your origin or residence. Working from India, I have helped start-ups launch product in multiple locations internationally and have received tremendous success, so even you can.

      Key Deciding factors:
      • Developing/ underdeveloped country,
      • Country which has decent number of travelers 3M+,
      • Least number of cities aggregating to highest percentage of travelers
      • Should be in South East Asia (makes traveling easy),

      VIETNAM was perfect with 8 Million Yearly travellers with 80% travelling to 3 cities.

    5. Big Launch:
    6. Hired a company in Vietnam to launch the product. Got overwhelming response of 3,500 downloads in the very first month of the launch.

    7. Best Places to find Target Audience:
    8. I can’t finish writing the list websites where you can find the guides. Like, TripAdvisory, LinkedIn, Facebook, Tripoto, etc. Nonetheless, finding people who would be interested in helping travelers in their trip is like a community and can’t be found on there websites.

      To target the locals the most useful are Facebook groups, pages, and Travel blog writers.

      Service Providers:

      Without the guides on the portal, even if we got the travelers, there would be no one service to book. Hence we targeted guides for first 2 months and got whooping 200 active users.

      With 4 different strategies and portals like Facebook, LinkedIn, TripAdvisor, Viator. We created a database of 100,000 guides.

      In 1 months we had 200+ guides verified and registered. The reason conversion rate stands at almost 0.2% is because Tooreest verifies all the guides with their official document to make ensure safety of the travelers.

      Users/Consumers: Generating Revenue

      Based on research we found that a maximum number of travelers to Vietnam are from China, Japan, and South Korea. Hence we started contacting the tour operators from those places to understand traveler’s behaviors.

      We even connected to all the local travel groups to the target countries on Facebook, RenRen for China and other such local social media platforms.

      In the 1st month, we had 10 Travellers on board and lot of interest from local players for tie-ups.

    9. Getting Users On-Board
    10. Digital Acquisition Strategy:
      1. Social Media Games to increase page engagement,
      2. FB and other social media groups and pages,
      3. Finding People over different platform and connecting with them on chatting applications like Zalo, WeChat, etc.
      Offline Acquisition Strategy:
      1. Tie-ups with local vendors,
      2. Tie-up with travellers to use Tooreest marked products,
      3. Offers to attract local guides to take through Tooreest App,

    The journey is fun and there is a long road ahead.

    Tooreest Achievment

    justify

    no-repeat;center top;;

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