Come exam season and students across all engineering colleges can be seen scurrying around for the right books to study from and breaking their heads over tricky questions. While many struggle to cram and get through the exams, others are clueless about how to prepare for it. To curb this last minute hassle, Paperhut, an innovative portal helps students in preparing for their exams. Offering previous years’ question papers and used books for engineering and MBA courses, Paperhut has grown to be a favourite in the student community. A start-up established by four students of Anna University, Paperhut now has over 10,000 users a day. “Paperhut was born when our professors said the simplest way to score 85 per cent was by going through previous years’ question papers,” says Krishna Murari, one of the founders. “Then as we tried to access these papers, we had to slog for hours in the library or head out to ask if our seniors had it. On an average, it took us about 3-4 hours to get the papers we wanted. We then contacted a bunch of friends from a few more universities across India, and it looked like everyone faced the same issue! Instead of cribbing about it, we decided to go ahead and solve this problem. And that's how Paperhut was born.”
The team of four consists of Krishna Murari, Raghavendra Ramesh, Sreekesh Krishnan and Thiru Venkadam.
Redefining the studying process for students during examinations and making it much easier, Paperhut makes old question papers and books accessible to universities across Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. They have partnered with four colleges in Tamil Nadu to offer their services, allowing the college management as well to share their internal papers and notes. Convincing colleges and universities to become a part of the portal is no mean task and Krishna Murari agrees. “While a lot of colleges have shown interest, we're facing a roadblock as the management boards in many are skeptical about adopting a newer technology in empowering their students. Communicating with colleges involves a lot of effort, including driving down to remote locations for each meeting to take it forward,” he says. But their high point comes during exams when Paperhut is put to its best use. “We spot a lot of students with question papers printed from our portal and that is a moment of pride and happiness for us,” he adds.
Sourcing the papers from students, college seniors and Paperhut volunteers in colleges, they have an online tool which tracks and ensures that all the question papers reach them within a month of the end of a semester. “The question papers are then digitised and optimised before they’re uploaded in Paperhut,” says Krishna. He adds that the the pre-owned books are sourced from students, dealers in the city and college alumni. Quality checks are also done on the books to ensure its usability before putting them up for sale on Paperhut.
Having received the ‘Most Innovative Venture’ award from Microsoft at a start-up fest in 2013, Paperhut has progressed and is now Paperhut Education Private Limited. “We are excited to see how we can take this initiative forward to help students across universities,” explains Krishna Murari. “We are currently working on sourcing law, medical and chartered accountancy papers and we're halfway through it. We are also looking at expanding our student base, improving the logistics for Paperhut Books and see if we can do something about solving a few more problems that students face. It would help us in taking this initiative further if the managements across colleges could lend some more support in working with us,” he concludes.