Although e-learning or online education originated in the middle of the last century, its adoption surged with the increasing accessibility of the Internet and the growing popularity of streaming.
Over the past decade, numerous e-learning platforms like Udemy, Coursera, Skillshare, and edX have emerged worldwide. Bangladesh, too, witnessed the rise of local platforms such as 10 Minute School, Shikho, Ustad, and Bohubrihi. These platforms offer a diverse range of pre-recorded classes and live sessions, catering to both academic studies and skill development.
Among these organizations, Hulkenstein stands out for its dedication to revolutionizing online coaching for SSC & HSC candidates and admission tests.
The Journey of Hulkenstein
In 2019, ASM Anas Ferdous and Samiur Rahman, two friends, embarked on a journey to establish Hulkenstein, an ed-tech platform focusing on online university admission coaching.
ASM Anas Ferdous, the platform’s co-founder, hails from Dinajpur and had his upbringing there. His academic journey commenced at the Department of Biomedical Engineering in BUET, having completed his secondary education at Dinajpur District School and higher secondary education at Dinajpur Government College.
Samiur Rahman, another co-founder of Hulkenstein, was born and raised in Dhaka. He pursued his secondary education at Motijheel Ideal School and College and his higher secondary education at Notre Dame College before joining the Department of Biomedical Engineering at BUET. It was during their time at BUET that their friendship blossomed.
Anas’ father serves as a professor at Haji Danesh University of Science and Technology, while his mother is a school teacher. Teaching runs in their family, and this inspired Anas to contemplate pursuing teaching as a profession.
As he completed his high school studies and prepared for university admission, he noticed that a significant portion of the country’s university applicants couldn’t access admission preparation in Dhaka or other major cities due to capacity constraints.
Anas was troubled by the inequality he saw between students from Dhaka and other parts of the country when it came to university admission preparation. Though he was now a student in Dhaka himself, he remembered how hard it was for him coming from a small town to compete with the more privileged students from the capital.
So Anas decided to act. He started a YouTube channel and began posting tutorial videos to help students from outside Dhaka prepare for admissions tests. Drawing from his own experiences, he focused the videos on topics that had given him difficulty but which the Dhaka students seemed to grasp easily.
In addition to the tutorials, Anas made motivational videos sharing study strategies and encouraging students not to be intimidated. The response was tremendous. Students from across the country began watching his videos and finding them incredibly helpful. For many, it was the boost they needed to feel like university was not out of reach.
The Meaning Behind the Hulkenstein Name
The name Hulkenstein cleverly combines “Hulk” and “Einstein” – two personas that reflect the company’s co-founder, Anas Ferdous.
During his school days, Anas gained the nickname “Hulkenstein” thanks to his athletic physique and top academic performance. He actively worked out and built strength, earning comparisons to the muscular comic book character, the Hulk. At the same time, Anas consistently secured the 1st position in his classes – channeling the intelligence of genius scientist Einstein.
When Anas started his YouTube channel to share educational videos, he aptly named it after his longtime nickname. The “Hulk” embodied his commitment to physical health and self-discipline, while “Einstein” represented the channel’s focus on knowledge and admission test preparation.
In the beginning, Anas even created videos on exercise, mental health, focus and other self-improvement topics in addition to academic tutorials. Over time, based on student demand, the channel shifted to more exclusively provide content to prepare for university admissions exams.
But the Hulkenstein name remains. More than just a clever combination, the name connects to the very origin story and ethos of the company.
“Excellence is not a gift, but a skill that takes hard work and practice.” – this motto encapsulates Hulkenstein’s belief that true success stems from effort. The company aims to equip students to realize their potential through diligence and perseverance. They encourage youth to outshine even the naturally gifted students by simply out-working them.
Rather than portraying merit as fixed or inherited, Hulkenstein views it as the product of passion and grit. Their platform and tutorials nurture the mindset that with the right strategies and tireless preparation, students can master challenging curriculum and excel in admissions tests.
This emphasis on cultivating a strong work ethic permeates the ed-tech startup’s culture. Founders Anas and Samiur continually reinforce that privilege do not determine achievement – self-discipline and work ethic do. By promoting diligence over innate ability, Hulkenstein aims to level the playing field and empower all students to gain admission to top universities through conscious effort.
The Rise of Hulkenstein
After garnering an initial audience on YouTube, Hulkenstein began expanding its offerings, starting with published test prep books in 2019. Titles like “QnA HSC Suggestion Book” sold well, enabling the launch of 4 offline coaching centers that same year.
But the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic forced a shift. With in-person classes halted, Hulkenstein pivoted to creating the EdgeCourse online platform in 2021, providing video lessons and practice exams. Despite early technical difficulties, enrollment steadily grew.
In 2022, Hulkenstein launched its website and mobile app, enhancing accessibility and convenience for students. The adoption of the digital platform skyrocketed.
Remarkably, Hulkenstein achieved this rapid growth with minimal outside funding. Co-founders Anas and Samiur bootstrapped the initial YouTube channel themselves, using mobile phones and reinvesting revenue from book sales into expanding video production and operations.
From 1 channel in 2018, Hulkenstein now encompasses 5 YouTube channels with 410,000+ subscribers. Their paid EdgeCourse platform serves over 30,000 students with specialized test prep.
Most recently in 2022, Hulkenstein introduced its Prep Store, offering customized notebooks and stationery. Over 5,000 students bought from the Prep Store, showing the growth of their community.
Through strategic pivots and continual improvement, Hulkenstein has successfully navigated challenges like COVID-19 to emerge as one of Bangladesh’s top ed-tech startups. Their self-sustaining model and focus on addressing student needs point to even greater achievements ahead.
With a team of over 90 members today, Hulkenstein has expanded well beyond its founding duo. While some teach classes, others create educational content, write books, handle operations, and more.
As the first platform to offer test prep for all science, commerce, and art students, Hulkenstein delivers tremendous value. For just 1250 TK, learners gain access to all the classes, materials, and practice exams they need for university admission success.
The company currently provides over 100 specialized courses – ranging from question bank solving programs to math crash courses, BUET engineering prep, and intensive exam batches. Hulkenstein’s publications now number over 80 books, including bestselling SSC and HSC exam guides. Having served over 50,000 satisfied paid students to date, Hulkenstein continues pursuing excellence and impact.
Hulkenstein stands apart from typical EdTech platforms in a few key ways:
- It offers personalized guidance and mentorship to admission seekers, which is lacking in the market. Hulkenstein does it all. The mentors are experienced and qualified professionals who have been through the admission process themselves and know the tips and tricks to succeed.
- It covers all the topics and skills that are required for admission tests. Whereas other platforms may focus on only math, physics, or English, Hulkenstein covers all the subjects and skills that are tested in the admission tests of various public universities, such as BUET, DU, or Medical.
- It provides an all-in-one solution that includes books, exams, courses, and mentorships, so students do not have to look elsewhere for their needs. In contrast to other platforms that may require students to buy books from one place, take exams from another place, enroll in courses from another place, and seek mentorship from another place, Hulkenstein provides everything in one place. Students can access all the resources and services they need from Hulkenstein’s website or app without any hassle.
The Future Plan
There are some underserved segments in the online admission preparation market right now, such as English Version, English Medium, etc. These students have limited options and resources, as most of the existing content providers focus on Bangla Medium students. There is also a lack of content for Commerce and Arts students.
Hulkenstein’s future plan is to fill this gap by developing and delivering high-quality content to these segments very soon. In particular, English versions and English medium students face a scarcity of books that are specially designed for them. Hulkenstein has already launched a “Medical Biology Preparation Book” in 2022 for them and is planning to launch more books for other subjects soon.
Besides, there are some unique programs like “Fine Arts Preparation”, “Architecture Admission Preparation”, and “IBA Admission Course” that are currently only available in Dhaka. Hulkenstein has already developed such programs and is planning to launch more in the near future.
There are also some innovative features to be added to the mobile app in 2023. They have recently developed an AI-based stationery buying solution, where students can scan a QR code, answer some questions, and get instant recommendations of everything they need as a package periodically.
Hulkenstein is also working on developing an AI-based math-solving program where students can just take a picture of a math problem, upload it on the app, and get instant suggestions on how to approach and solve the problem. This way, students don’t need a teacher at home to help them when they’re stuck.
With its robust roadmap of new features and expanded academic programs, Hulkenstein is striding purposefully into the future. The ed-tech startup aims to continuously raise the bar for online learning – enhancing accessibility, relevance, and enjoyment for students nationwide.