Personal tutoring is expensive and cannot be afforded by everyone, although it is a very important aspect of a student’s life. Growing Stars, a one-on-one Online Tutoring Services, is the answer to expensive personal tutoring. Growing Stars has expertise in providing excellent services to students all over the world, making expert tutoring services available to all.
Biju Mathew, the Co-Founder & C.E.O of Growing Stars, is himself proficient in Math, having done his B.Tech, ECE and M.Tech CS from IIT, Kharagpur. He felt the need for providing these services when he personally went through the problem of finding appropriate and economical tutoring for his children. From this experience came the idea of having a one-on-one Online Tutoring Service for students and parents who find themselves in a similar predicament.
E-Brandz decided to catch up with Mr. Biju Mathew to know more about his tutoring services.
Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business.
Growing Stars is the pioneer in affordable one-on-one Online Tutoring Services, offering these services to students in many different parts of the world, mostly in the United States. The Growing Stars tutoring program is convenient and effective. More than ninety percent of our tutors hold Masters Degrees in Math or their respective subjects. National newspapers such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times have covered Growing Stars, with articles that included customer and teacher interviews. We are a California-based Corporation with office in Santa Clara. Having started offering our services in 2004, we also have a teaching center in Cochin, India.
Please tell our readers something about yourself.
I was born and brought up in India. I was an alumnus from the College of Engineering in Trivandrum, and hold a degree in B.Tech, ECE (1986). I have also been an IIT Kharagpur (M.Tech CS 1988) alumnus. Having started my career as a software engineer with HCL technologies in Chennai, I have also worked for Eddy Current Controls (I) Ltd, and became its Technical Director and a Member of the Board. I came to the US in late 2000 to work for a startup company, Comverge Inc, in the Bay Area, after which, in a couple of years’ time, I Started Growing Stars .
What ignited the spark in you to come up with this business?
As mentioned above, I came to the United States in the year 2000 to work for a start-up Company in the Silicon Valley. I am a father of three children myself. When I looked around for tutoring for my own children, I found it to be very expensive – I just could not afford it at $40-50/hour. My children had good tutors in India. Being an engineer myself, I thought of a way to connect those tutors in India with my children in America. I realized that there would be several other parents who would benefit from such an affordable high quality one-on-one tutoring program, and hence I decided to start a business. I approached my friend and classmate, Saji Philip from New Jersey, who is also our Chairman, and he agreed to finance the project. That is how all of this came up.
How important have good employees been to your success?
Our employees have been the main reason for our success. We have been fortunate to have excellent people working for our Company.
How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
My family has always been dearer to me than my career. The entrepreneurship has taken its toll on my family, especially during the early years when we had to go through financial struggles. My wife was very supportive, and understanding – she, in fact, came up with the name ‘Growing Stars’. I also spent less time with my family which would have not been the case if I were an employee. Sometimes, my youngest son says,” I prefer you to be working less, and spending more time with me.” However, the freedom and flexibility that I have as an entrepreneur, allowed me to spend time with my father during the final weeks of his life.
What motivates you?
The knowledge that our service is helping a lot of children do their best in school motivates me. We pioneered online tutoring from India, through which several thousand students in the US who could not afford a one-on-one tutoring earlier are now able to get so from top-notch teachers. This helps lots of teachers and families by creating jobs. The fact that the company has become eventually profitable also makes me happy.
How do you generate new ideas?
By observing and listening.
What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage it?
My strong belief that the God Almighty would take care of us helps me get over all fears.
How do you define success?
Your venture is successful if you are able to make a positive impact in the lives of some others through rightful means, doing justice to all -investors, employees, customers and one’s own family, following one’s conscience and the will of God.
What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
Be truthful, persistent, and depend on God.
Where did you get the capital for your organization?
From friends and family.
Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to become a successful entrepreneur?
I do not know of any such formula.
If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
What book has inspired you the most?
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
The joy of creation, and the ability to positively impact people’s lives.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
The day we got our first customer testimonial.
How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Through successful partnerships with organizations, online marketing and through sales affiliates. We have done well with customer referrals.
In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
What do you do in your non-work time?
I spend time with my family, and friends. Besides, I also like reading.
What makes you happy?
Doing something good. Creating something new.
Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Ford Motor Company.
Where you see yourself and your business in the next 10 – 20 years?
Growing Stars will be one of the best tutoring companies in the world.