“A bright engineering student came to us with an aspiration to study abroad. She had lost her parents a few years ago and was living with her relatives. Despite being a meritorious student, she had many troubles getting a loan for her education. We helped her sort the financial part of the deal and when she appeared for GRE, she secured the top bunk, got into UC Berkeley and currently she is working with Google. This is the kind of story we weave through our venture,” begins Gautam Gadgil, Founder, and CEO, Enrizon, an education finance startup that simplifies loan processing for students aspiring to study abroad. Although the firm is in its nascent stage, it is making headlines for its unique approach. The TechGraph editorial team sat with Gautam to find out more about Enrizon. Here’s an excerpt of the interview:
TechGraph: What is the story behind the conception of Enrizon?
Gautam Gadgil: Having spent a couple of years in the Education Lending space, I realised that an Education Loan is a very different financial product compared to say a home loan or a car loan. The target audience for Education Loans are 18-25 year old students who do not always have a deep understanding of financial products and future implications of their current financial decisions. Making the right Education Loan choices can save students lakhs of rupees in the long run. Students have access to a lot of information and options but this often leads to complexity and confusion. Enrizon’s key USP is that we have a very good understanding of both the lender and borrower perspective and add tremendous value to both of them.Our vision behind Enrizon is two-fold:
1. Provide students a platform where they can they can discover, compare, shortlist and apply to the best Education Loan product suitable for their circumstances and requirements.
2. Provide access to Education Loan products that students so far did not have access to. For example, we partner with US Banks to offer Education Loans where interest rates are as low as 4% per annum.
While we are currently focused on the Study Abroad space, we are soon planning to offer Domestic Education Loans on the Enrizon Platform. This has traditionally been a more challenging space to address but our unique approach and solutions will enable us to create tremendous value for all stakeholders.
TG: Could you please shed light on your product-line highlighting its key features?
GG: Our services are designed in a way that acts as a one-stop-solution for every education finance requirement. At this point in time, Enrizon is focused on streamlining the loan processing task for students aspiring to study abroad. The vision, however, is become a dominant force in education finance spectrum in both domestic and international playfield. One of the major factors that complicate the foreign education funding is the availability of lenders in abundance. Asides, there are umpteen insurance plans that are necessary for students aspiring to study in a foreign university. Enrizon assists students to save $1000-1500 in insurance by directly enrolling them in plans instead of opting for university designed insurance offers. More than that, we help students with an insurance plan on top of their loan to ensure the co-signers are not forced into debt if anything untoward happens to the student. The entire idea is to provide the entire suite of products to abroad going students through a singular platform.
TG: What is the key differentiating factor that sets you apart from others in the market?
GG: Well, if you look at the education finance market, you will observe that it is very fragmented. If we take a walk anywhere on the pavements of Mumbai we will at least find 30-40 education consultants. Therefore, our vision was to come up with a product that can defragmantize the entire marketplace. Enrizon has tied up with a variety of companies that assist students from chosing colleges, SOP edits, managing finances to finally getting admitted to a university. In the entire grand scheme of events, Enrizon doesn’t charge a single penny from the students and that’s the factor that distinguishes us from others in the business. Asides, our products are very different from others in the marketplace. Enrizon’s offerings entail handholding the students, counseling and educating them till they get admitted to a foreign university.
TG: Could you please elaborate on your collaborations, which as far as we understand is the lifeline of your organization.
GG: In order to answer the question allow me to take you through the education finance scenario in India. While the thrust towards getting a foreign education is high, the public sector banks offer loans only to those that have collaterals. As a result, 80 percent of students do not qualify to avail the education loans. Despite the efforts by NBFCs to simplify the loan processing framework, the chances of acquiring a loan through Indian banks or NBFCs are still pretty low. We have tied up with several banks in the United States that offer loans to foreign students. This enables the students to not only get a loan but also realize their dreams.
TG: What does future hold for Enrizon?
GG: In the impending years, we are planning to penetrate in the domestic education finance spectrum. Currently, the inclination towards foreign education is on the rise, however in the coming years, the scenario is going to be reversed. And especially with the liberalization of education, more and more foreign universities are going to open campuses in India. At that time, students will require tailor-made solutions that cater to their unique needs. This is the space we, at Enrizon, want to disrupt and considering our current pace, hopefully, we will be there.