Oust Labs, an edtech startup whose gamified platform helps students excel in competitive exams, has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from T.V. Mohandas Pai, Chairman of Manipal Global Education Services and Aarin Capital.
Oust was founded by Shrikant Latkar in Cupertino, California, with an aim to make learning fun and exciting in a mobile-first world. The company helps students excel in competitive exams in 2 minutes and 5 questions at a time.
According to a study by Forbes India, Indian consumers spend an average of 3 hours and 18 minutes on their smartphones every day. Oust is leveraging this growing amount of time spent on mobile devices to rollout a collaborative and competitive learning mobile-first solution – one that builds upon existing student behavior to deliver a natural fit.
The Need & The Solution
Today, students face a lot of pressure to perform in short period of time + have shorter attention spans. And every student wants to know where do they stand relative to others? How he/she can get better? Thus, the need of a platform which not only allows them to score better but also keep them engaged, clicked Shrikant to design Oust – ground-up by understanding student behavior in a mobile-first world.
The startup aims to make exam preparation fun for students by combining the fun and social aspects of mobile gaming with rigorous curriculum. One can add friends and join groups, which consists of students with the same goal. By infusing friendly competition with peers and other like-minded individuals who have similar aspirations, Oust helps students benchmark their performance.
Students can instantly track their performance on real time leaderboards and see where they stand.
The company had tested its first version of the product with high school students last year. Based on feedback, the team completely re-architected the product to address the user needs, so that students in smaller towns can seamlessly compete with students in larger metro cities and see where they stand.
“Several colleges, tuition centers and teachers are already using the product with their students and the feedback has been phenomenal. By making it easy for students to challenge peers in classes and other social contexts, we are able to engage students deeply in short bursts of time”, said Shrikant Latkar, Founder and CEO of Oust Labs. On monetisation front, the startup plans to keep the app for free and work with colleges for some sort of revenue engagements in future.
Oust has a total repository of 1.25 Lakh questions across Physics, Chemistry, Maths and Biology subjects, all curated by teachers and organised into modules, so that students can focus on their key areas of improvement.
For PUC I and II, Oust has more than 30,000+ free Multiple Choice Questions (including past question papers) for the Karnataka Common Entrance Examination. The product is also available for CBSE, AIPMT, COMEDK and Maharashtra CET exams. The startup has been doing extensive trials of its Oust App in smaller cities of Karnataka since August 2015.
According to Shrikant, users on average spend up to 12 minutes on the Android app which so far has over 7,500 downloads.
Currently, Oust has presence in California, Bangalore, Belagavi and Pune and is working with 6 member team.
“Oust is bringing about real innovation by studying the evolution of students’ learning behavior and building new value propositions that they can relate to. This includes the many forms of gamification and competitive challenges, cooperative knowledge discovery and sharing, and collaborative learning across local, state and national contexts. That is a very impressive vision, and I am glad to be a part of such an undertaking”, Mohandas Pai said.
The company counts several renowned Bay Area personalities as advisors, including Paulette Altmaier, EdTech Executive who previously was Head of Partnerships at Khan Academy, Gurmeet Lamba, a silicon valley veteran and VP of Engineering of Sentient Technologies (an AI company) and Venkatesh Venkataraman, entrepreneur and architect who has worked at several startups and large companies including Cisco Systems and Netflix.
Prior to launching Oust, Shrikant was CMO of InMobi, CRO at Fuel and Publisher of Apponomics.
Earlier this year, Gyaanzone.com, an online education gateway facilitating students with flexible learning opportunities through access to hundreds of Indian schools, colleges, universities, exams, courses and other distance learning programs raised an undisclosed amount in funding from GBIM Technologies.