Just a month after moving out of one of the most controversial Indian startups, Housing co-founder Advitiya Sharma has made a comeback. The IIT Bombay alumnus has now launched an EdTech startup GeniusTeacher to reimagine how education is delivered and consumed. Working on a hybrid model, the startup will be focused on kindergarten to class eight students and will provide solutions to neighbourhood teachers to make learning more effective.
Advitiya has roped in two co-founders from Silicon Valley. Keeping the other details undisclosed, Advitiya tells that one of the co-founder is from Twitter and the other from an IoT startup. The startup is working with a team of five including the co-founders.
The Need And The Solution
“There are over 200 million students in the K-8 segment in India. Keeping aside tier 2 and tier 3 cities, families earn over INR 30 lakhs annually and 89% of these families are dissatisfied with school education. They spend 12-15% of their income for providing after school education to their children,” says Advitiya.
With edtech boom, now students have many avenues for learning. However, one has to understand that every child has a different taste of learning. The Internet is flooded with information or solutions, but that is common for all. More importantly, technology cannot possibly replace the way students can learn directly from teachers or peers. Schools have great environment, but their learning doesn’t happen well, plus, there are platforms like Coursera, which have good content but there’s no learning environment. He added that there is no billion dollar company in the edtech space, just because tech isn’t enough.
Thus there arise a need of solution, where a student gets tech help and is groomed in a particular segment/subject in which he is not good.
“We are taking the hybrid approach,” he says.
Built on a concept that was adopted by US-based startup AltSchool (funded by Mark Zuckerberg), the startup has developed a technology solution mixed with environmental learning that can customise itself according to the learning needs of a child and cut chaos for teachers. It aims to create a knowledge graph of every child and optimise the learning process.
“We are building entrepreneurial teachers who will run micro-schools from their houses. Tech will play an important role in understanding the problem and providing adaptive learning solutions, but with that we will prepare an environment.”
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These classrooms, which will act as research and development labs, will let students switch between project-based learning models, individualised learning, and personal grooming by the teacher.
The startup will also be introducing a couple of classroom products which will help students in learning. “It will be a evolving class where students, teachers and parents will plan important role. We are building a team of entrepreneurs, technologists and educators,” he added. Launched just last night, Genius, run by Genius Learning Labs Pvt., has received over 55 applications from teachers already.
Cutting Down Teachers & Parents Pain
The current education system forces teachers to take care of the entire content delivery process. About 30-80% of their time goes in doing administrative works which includes preparing notes, managing exams, etc. The startup will address this pain point by providing them with content and tech solutions.
Talking about the parents’ concern, he says that when parents choose teachers for their wards, their primary concerns are include security, location and the inconvenience of hiring different teachers for different subjects. The startup has tried to solve all these pain areas, as the teachers will be from the user’s locality of the user and with the technology solutions in place, a teacher doesn’t necessarily need to be a genius to teach.
Right now, the startup has launched a platform for teachers. A parent-specific product will come up in a week’s time.
The startup has received VC interest as well, investors have committed to invest of over $2-3 Mn, but, for now, the team wants to focus on building the product. He added that the product is cost-efficient, and will be able to make profit from the first class!
The startup plans to reach 800 teachers and 8,000 students in five metro cities in the next six months.
In the first quarter of 2016, over 14 edtech startups raised about $83 Mn in funding altogether. Last month, Byju raised over $ 75 Mn in funding from Sofina, Sequoia and others. There are several Test Prep startups in India that have raised VC funding. These include Embibe, Toppr, Plancess, and Testbook to name a few. Vidyanext and Vedantu Innovations Pvt. Ltd are companies that serves home tutors market in India.
In the last one year, Housing.com has seen the exit of a host of co-founders. And it continues, as, last week, three other co-founders—Abhishek Anand, Sanat Ghosh and Ravish Naresh—also left the company to start their new venture.