A web engineering class on a sunny afternoon in August 2010 motivated three students of Bandra’s Thadomal Shahani Engineering College to take their learning out of the classroom.
The computer engineering students, currently in their final year, launched a website, www.markmyfest.com — an online calendar marking all major college festivals. The purpose of the website is to keep the country’s student population up to date with all the big college events and news.
Today, the website has more than 80,000 users and 100 colleges across the country registered online. The interactive portal has online newsletters, videos and photographs of festivals.
“We were taught the basics of web designing in our computer engineering class. During breaks, our classmates often discussed college events and festivals, but did not have complete knowledge of them,” said Jai Banga, 21, one of the founders. “Considering how significant college festivals are for students, we decided to launch a website so that the information could be a click away,” added Banga, who then teamed up with his classmates Raj Doshi, 21, and Aditya Jagtiani, 21 and launched the portal.
Initially, the trio had to individually do the rounds of all city colleges, convincing student coordinators to tie-up with them and provide news of festivals in exchange for online publicity. Today, the tables have turned. “Colleges write to us, requesting us to feature them on our website,” said Doshi. “We also used to send SMS updates to every student registered with us about the festivals and events. However, with recent restrictions on free text messages, we had to cancel this offer,” Banga said.
Over the last two years, students have also added special festival merchandise to their list of offerings. “Last year, a Navi Mumbai-based engineering college asked us if we could arrange customised college festival T-shirts for all volunteers. With our network of student contacts, we managed to make timely arrangements,” said Banga.
For students, the website is not just a great information source but also a networking platform. “The website has great reach across colleges in the city. They had sent their representative to cover our college festival,” said Nishant Rao, 20, head of ‘Technovanza’, the annual tech fest of Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI), which was held in February this year. “Almost the entire student population is on the website and so it’s a great way to network with each other,” he added.
The trio has now taken their design and entrepreneurial skills outside the realm of college life, recently launching their own web-designing company, Web Tech. They create software and websites for companies for a fee. “We converted Mark My Fest, our flagship project, as a part of our company. Today, we also create inventory systems and software for shipping companies, based on specific demands,” he added.