AWS Public Sector Blog

EdTechs evolve college admissions and testing processes for students

Global Founders TestWe CollegeDekho

Amazon Web Services (AWS) EdStart Members—Clément Régnier, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of TestWe in France, and Ruchir Arora, founder and CEO of CollegeDekho in India—are simplifying and reducing the exam and college admissions process for students. TestWe creates a secure, offline, and comfortable exam experience for students. CollegeDekho acts as the liaison between colleges and students, connecting students with an array of services through the college admission process. Read on to learn how these founders are developing the next generation of education solutions.

Digitizing paper-based exams

In 2014, TestWe cofounders Régnier and Charles Zhu discovered that while 95 percent of European students owned a laptop, school exams were still paper-based. After this discovery, launched TestWe to help both administrators and students with the exam process. TestWe is a dedicated e-testing solution for secure and offline exams using a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) model. Their mission is to digitize the exam process with a seamless solution that can be integrated into a clients’ learning management system (LMS) or as a stand-alone tool. The product is now available in seven languages and used in more than 157 countries, and in 2020, helped professors create over four million exams.

TestWe provides both a cloud-native platform and a software that students can install on their personal devices. Three years after launching, TestWe migrated to AWS from another cloud provider due to the availability and architecture of AWS, which allowed TestWe to create more customized solutions for their clients.

“AWS enables a small team like ours to develop web-scale software that is resilient, scales well, and is easy to maintain. TestWe’s business is all about handling load peaks during exams,” said Régnier. “AWS’s ability to scale quickly and efficiently enables us to do this easily, even with a small IT team, while only paying for the resources we actually need.”

TestWe is a member of AWS EdStart, the AWS EdTech startup technology accelerator. “The AWS EdStart program is an ideal way to easily meet other companies from the educational community and to imagine synergies together. Thanks to the program, TestWe has been able to rethink its architecture and to implement new AWS services,” said Régnier.

Helping students navigate the college admission process

In 2015, as Arora, founder and CEO of CollegeDekho, worked in the education advertising industry, he found himself being asked the question, “What is the best college for my son or daughter?” Arora realized that outside of the top five percent of students, students typically did not receive help with the college selection and admissions process outside of their parents. This was when CollegeDekho was born.

CollegeDekho is a global platform that helps all students navigate college services at no cost, starting from research, to filling out the application, to understanding financial loans, and finding student housing—all with the goal of helping students make the right college or career choice. Since students have various skillsets and interests, the company was named CollegeDekho (which, in Hindi, translates into ‘see colleges’). Since launching, CollegeDekho has worked with over two million students and helped over 50,000 find their college of choice.

Arora originally ran the company on an alternate cloud provider on docker containers with servers that were not scalable. He decided to move CollegeDekho to AWS and began using managed services to create a distributed and scalable architecture. Today, CollegeDekho runs auto-scaled applications on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) using Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) as well as services like Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), Amazon ElastiCache, and Amazon CloudFront.

After migrating, Arora wanted to cost optimize his new architecture. As an AWS EdStart Member, Arora reached out to the program’s technical team during office hours. These conversations, along with industry introductions made by the program team, helped him optimize his infrastructure and reduce costs. Arora currently maintains a catalog of over 36,000 colleges and actively works on automating different parts of the process. As he continues to add new colleges and automates new processes, he sees AWS helping him along his journey and enabling him to continue to scale and grow.

“One of the reasons we are able to help students for free is because AWS offers affordable services like Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and charges a pay-as-you-go model,” said Arora. “We have also been able to significantly improve our user experience through the use of AWS services. Website response times have improved resulting in faster load times using services such as Amazon CloudFront, creating a better experience for users. After moving to AWS, we’ve been able to reduce our page speed by over 30%. By auto-scaling our web applications, we achieved almost 100% uptime, and by hosting on multiple Availability Zones, we have almost zero downtime even in extreme cases of data center failures. This has allowed our customers to browse through our site more reliably and efficiently.”

The AWS EdStart program supports the vision of EdTech founders around the world. AWS EdStart is continuing its global expansion in the Asia Pacific region by launching in Vietnam. Now, EdTech startups in Vietnam who become members will have access to benefits of the program, including AWS Promotion Credit, technical training, mentoring, live and virtual events. Learn more on the AWS EdStart website.

“Now, more than ever, we see incredible momentum and opportunity to support EdTech startups around the world. We are excited to expand our program to startups in Vietnam and enable yet another nation of EdTech entrepreneurs leverage the power of the AWS Cloud,” said Katie Herritage, global leader of AWS EdStart.

“Edmicro’s aims to become the personalized learning platform for 20Mil K12 students and teachers across Vietnam,” said Linh Dang, founder, Edmicro. “AWS offers the power and agility required for to move quickly and efficiently in order to meet different levels of demand from its users. We are excited to apply for AWS EdStart.”

AWS EdStart is designed to help entrepreneurs build online learning, analytics, and campus management solutions in the AWS Cloud. Learn more about AWS EdStart and read other stories about AWS EdStart founders.