IITian-founded start-up offers free math courses online to take on bigger rivals

  • Cuemath, an online math-course provider backed by Google parent Alphabet Inc., is making much of its content free for a year to fend off rivals in India’s competitive education-tech market and help fight inequalities in learning.
  • Cuemath is up against dozens of startups – including giant Byju’s – that offer online learning modules and classes to students around the world.
  • He founded Cuemath, formally called Cuelearn Pvt, in 2013 as an offline company whose tutors taught in their homes, and then quickly pivoted toward online courses.
[Via]

Unacademy Announces ESOPs Buyback Worth $10.5 Million

  • Edtech startup Unacademy has announced its largest ESOP buyback plan worth $10.5 million for its team members and educators.
  • Happy to announce Unacademy’s largest ESOPs buyback till date worth $10.5M for our team members and educators.
  • Extremely thankful to all our team members and educators for believing in our vision of democratising education.
[Via]

Byju’s losses jump 30 times; device sales boost revenue

  • Device sales fetched the highest revenues for Byju’s in 2019-20, regulatory filings showed, even as losses at the edtech giant swelled nearly 30 times.
  • The company, which recently became the most valued startup in India, witnessed around 80% growth in consolidated net sales in FY20 as compared to the previous year.
  • Sales of tablets and SD cards, usually sold to students as part of the package, accounted for 63% of the business in FY20, compared to 55% in the previous year.
[Via]

Get a roadmap for your career with this AI based platform

Navigus is a Bangalore-based mentorship and career platform that has two products: Orion, an AI system that can create personalized roadmaps for specific careers and Auriga, a direct mentorship platform where students or professionals can directly interact and learn from industry experts.

Orion: It is an AI system which helps an individual to get a roadmap for a specific career. This roadmap is detailed with all the information regarding the career stream.

Auriga: It is a mentorship platform where we connect the students or professionals with industry experts.

navigus


Bangalore

About the founding team:

Navigus is a software company that deals with career navigation for students and professionals using AI and structured data collection.


NextBigWhat profiles interesting products and startups (India + world). If you are building something interesting, submit the details here.

India’s higher education has no connection with reality : Mark Tully

I do think that BA graduates should be encouraged to go into real India for two years and serve those who have not enjoyed their privilege.
They lack contact with the reality of India. The MAs remain cosseted in the unreal university world.
The UPSC hopefuls concentrate entirely on studies relevant only to passing the exams.
The MBAs often escape to America. Wherever they study they only think about avoiding reality by entering the unreal corporate world.
[Sir Mark Tully William Mark Tully is the former Bureau Chief of the BBC, New Delhi.]
[Get this] https://www.nextbigwhat.com/steve-wozniak-indian-education-system-297/

India’s higher education set for a big disruption; UGC and AICTE might get scrapped

Modi government is setting up a single higher education regulator and might be scrapping existing regulatory authorities such as the University Grants Commission (UGC), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the National Council for Technical Education (NCTE) will be scrapped.
The draft legislation for setting up a ‘Higher Education Evaluation and Regulation Authority, 2018’ (HEERA) or Higher Education Regulatory Council (HERC), says that the new authority will focus on setting quality standards for institutions, specify learning outcomes, lay down standards of teaching assessment and research and evaluate the yearly academic performance of the institutes on clearly laid criteria.
And all this before the next general election!

India’s rural youth is 10 years behind when it comes to education [Report]


A look at Annual Status of Education Report for 2017 will tell you the massive problem India is sitting on when it comes to education of rural youth.
The rural youth, when it comes to solving basic math problem or answering simple questions is almost 10 years behind their age. 78% of all rural 14-18 year-olds – whether enrolled students or not – do some agricultural work whether for wages or on their own land.

Socio-economic factors at play.

For instance, consider a 15 year old who doesn’t live in a “pukka” home, whose parents

haven’t been to school, who is not a fluent reader and cannot divide. The probability that this youth will drop out is 33%. Affluence in the form of a “pukka” home reduces this probability to 25%; but having educated parents reduces it to 18%.

Apart from socio-economic factors, a large proportion of youth also cited “lack of interest” as a reason for leaving school. About one fourth of the youth said that they had to discontinue their studies because of financial reasons.

In addition, 50% of boys who had left school said the reason for doing so was either lack of interest (34%) or because they had failed in school (16%). For girls these numbers are 19% and 17%, respectively. Among girls, the predominant reason for leaving school was family constraints (32.5%). Interestingly, only about 11% of the girls said that distance to school was a contributing factor.

The correlation between socio-economic characteristics and drop out rates is well established. Youth who have dropped out come from more disadvantaged backgrounds. For instance, 37.2% out of school youth live in pukka homes as compared to 54.1% enrolled youths.

Parents’ education matters.

The difference in the education of their parents is even starker – 70.7% out of school youth have mothers who have never been to school, 46.1% have fathers who have never been to school and 41.8% have both parents with no schooling. The comparable numbers for enrolled youth are 39.2%, 21.8% and 17.3%, respectively. Given these figures, it is surprising that only a fourth of the out of school youth cited financial constraints as the reason for leaving school.

Data: For every 100 elementary schools (Std I to VIII) in rural India, there are just 14 offering secondary grades (Std IX and X), and only 6 offering higher secondary grades (Std XI and XII).


What will ever solve this?

Cuemath launches original ‘motion comics’ to gamify math learning

Cuemath, a home-based, after-school learning program for math, launched a first-of-its kind ‘Mathematical Universe’ for students across K-8 to engage them better in order to strengthen their foundation in the subject.

All Cuemath’s 20,000 students will be able to experience this form of learning through stories on the Cueapp across 2500+ Cuemath centers starting today.

These stories have been broadly divided into three levels – Class K-2, Class 3-5, and Class 6-8. This has been done after carefully analyzing the students’ responses to content across media like storybooks, puzzles, games, apps and televised programs.

Each story would be released periodically over a series of classes, incentivizing students to consistently attend and perform well. The objective behind this is to engage the students to strengthen their problem-solving ability and increase their affinity for Math.
Within each of these categories, Cuemath has developed a set of characters who embark on Math-based adventures in stories that enable the student to tangibly interact with the infinite possibilities of the Mathematical universe:

  • Class K-2: Thomas Tallman and Friends – These are stories that focus on the wonders of math and logic in the natural world, and in the immediate world that the younger children live and play in. Thomas Tallman is the newest kid in the odd little town of Oddity, and quickly becomes the town’s expert problem-solver when he discovers a book on Math. Expect exciting times on bicycles and seesaws, discoveries in growing plants and telling time with shadows, and the joys of flying kites!
  • Class 3-5: Zero-Squad – These are stories about an intrepid crime-solving detective duo, Eka and Dvita – the “Zero Squad.” Raised by an honest and upright District Collector, their family is often transferred, so the stories take place against the rich backdrop and history of the smaller towns and cities of India. Get ready to crack cases that even adults cannot, for brains to overpower the local goons’ brawn – for Eka and Dvita are most certainly superheroes, with the superpowers of logic and reasoning.
  • Class 6-8: Kalina and the Shards of Singularity – These stories, for our oldest students, take place in a world reminiscent of the Arabian Nights – but with intergalactic space-travel in a not-so-distant future. We follow a young rebel, Kalina, as she travels across the universe with her trusted AI partner/sidekick (they can’t decide which one), the Djinn. Get ready to explore space/time continuums, break complex codes, and discover the mysterious mathematical origins of the stars.

13 Untold Truth Of Selling To Schools In India

The education industry in India is considered to be a multi-billion market. First-time entrepreneurs (like me) plunge into a startup with the aim to sell to schools and make a lot of money with ease. This ease becomes unease in a couple of months when it becomes f**king difficult to get even the first appointment with the school principal.

school

Education and Healthcare are two such categories where no one wants to compromise. People spent a hefty amount on child’s education and family health. You think that schools are making so much money these days, so why can’t I sell something to schools and be part of their success. Agree?

Don’t consider schools as cash cows or low hanging fruits.

My experience with schools was not great in my first startup. I am not sure about many other startups selling to schools, but we had a hard time to cross gatekeeper and speak with the principal of the school. Our first few customers (schools) were from references only and slowly we found some more customers who were willing to try our product.

But what is the problem with schooling industry? I am sharing few points with my experience of selling to schools.

  1. Most of the schools do not care about student’s education. They are running business and all they care about making $$$ money.
  2. They are interested in product that can be sold to parents irrespective of how beneficial it is for student. I have seen smart boards in some schools that appear to be rarely used for teaching. They just joined the race of becoming smart school so that they can charge more from parents.
  3. They don’t even buy your product free of cost if its not a money earning instrument. *You keep 30% schools keep 70%* product may be sold.
  4. Don’t talk about benefit of student’s learning, better humans, and relationship with parents?—?Talk about how to lure parents to get more admissions!! (Smart Class tactics)
  5. They don’t look at your brochures. Leave it at reception or their desk and it will go straight to dustbin.
  6. Most of email-ids mentioned on their website do not exist, yes, emails bounce from their official email-ids!!! Surprised?
  7. Some email-ids exist but no one opens them, if they open then never respond!! Very low ROI from email marketing. It only works with mature & Internet savvy schools.
  8. Its difficult to find who is the decision maker. Principal live like a puppet, without having any power to take decisions. He is the top profile for parents and teachers but not for startups.
  9. Decision makers do not sit inside schools. They are running their own businesses somewhere else (Builders, Trustees, Management Directors, Owners)
  10. It takes about 4 to 6 months to close a deal with school. If you are lucky, they will pay on time.
  11. No one knows what sort of software is required in their school. They believe they are running the super efficient software, but you will find them working on excel sheets.
  12. They don’t really cares about technology, next generation software, go-green initiative, data protection or security unless you solve their real pain point.
  13. Don’t even talk about transparency of activities through software!! Their business involves black money and they are scared to hell to disclose anything. Ssshhh…

But the time demands a revolution in the field of education field. I have shared my experience with different schools in Gurgaon, Delhi and Chandigarh area. Like humans, all schools are not same. There are always exceptions. Some schools are doing awesome work for students and teachers. It all depends on their management and school’s business.

If you care about student development, then stop selling to schools and shift your focus to selling directly to parents. Only parents can appreciate student-focused product because they genuinely care about their kid’s future.

If we can fix education, many other things will be fixed automatically. Better human beings make better societies.

Create something to add value to the future generation. There are lots of fresh engineers, commerce & arts graduates, but companies are struggling to find talent. Make something to make students skilled & employable. Or build something that can reach to masses at low cost and add high value to their lives (English teaching mobile apps).

I failed at my education venture, but you can learn from my mistakes and build next big thing. I am running a personal finance blog CashOverflow. Please leave your feedback and share your experience selling to Indian schools.

pardeep[About the author: Pardeep is an Entrepreneur, who left his job to explore his passion in startups. He co-founded two startups in past. Now, a freelance writer, digital marketer and running a blog on personal finance – CashOverflow.in. He can be followed on Twitter @pardeepg]

Image credit: Shutterstock

Unitus Seed Fund Invests in LabInApp, 3D Interactive Virtual Laboratory Tool

Unitus Seed Fund has led the seed round investment in LabInApp, a Hubli-based education startup.  Other investors in this round include Madan Padaki led Sylvant Advisors and angel investor Subhash Reddy (former e4e).

LabInApp is a 3D, interactive virtual laboratory tool that focuses on heuristic approach of understanding science. This heuristic ideology allows students and teachers to perform science experiments on computers or mobile devices, and eliminates the physical barriers of an actual laboratory. LabInApp’s real-time 3D computer graphics technology promotes “learn by doing” pedagogy. This improves students’ conceptual realization and arouses curiosity by its playful learning environment.
LabInApp Real time 3d graphic

In India, 75% schools lack proper science laboratory facilities and most schools catering to BoP lack access to good quality science teachers. Students are thus unable to understand the basics of science that involves experimentation.
As part of the curriculum, schools have experiments for physics, chemistry and biology, but most often these are done in groups and the time spent for each experiment by the student is very little leaving limited ability to tweak and learn. LabInApp addresses this gap, and enables the student to experiment directly with each concept without the need for a physical setup.

 

EduKart Raises $1mn Led By United Finsec, Yuvraj Singh And 500 Startups

Education marketplace startup EduKart has raised $1 million led by United Finsec, YouWeCan Ventures and 500 Startups.

Image from: Edukart
Image from: Edukart

EduKart wants to disrupt the $60 billion Indian education sector which is split 50% in higher education, 40% in K12 sector and 10% in coaching.

The firm has partnered with over 90 course providers over the past year to drive enrollments in more than 2000 courses in K12, entrance coaching, degrees, diplomas, etc.

EduKart will utilize the newly raised capital to upgrade its platform, increasing its course portfolio and strengthen its marketing efforts.

Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities have been on the startup’s growth radar and is driving course sign ups by offering dedicated counselling support and flexible payment options.

Over the next three years, EduKart is looking to drive $100mn worth of sales for its course providers and aims to enroll 100,000+ students each year.

EduKart’s existing investors such as Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Manish Kheterpal, Amit Patni and Arihant Patni, and Stanford Business School’s alumni angels have also participated in the current round.

IIMB Launches Open Online Courses In Partnership With EdX

IIM Bangalore has launched a range of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in partnership with EdX, the online learning initiative founded by Harvard and MIT.

IIMB Hero Image

India is home to the largest population of edX learners outside of the US, and the partnership with IIM will benefit numerous more students not just in the country, but also across the globe.

IIMBx is starting off with four courses on edX, out of which two courses will launch in July 2015, followed by one in August 2015 and another in October 2015.

All courses are now open for enrollment and will aim to help students to learn and acquire different skills for Business, IT, Statistics and Operations Management.

Innovation and IT Management (6 weeks)

The course will begin in July 2015 and will teach key decision-making skills to better manage and implement IT and innovation in a workplace. It will cover basic concepts of information technology management and would be useful for anyone who is using IT in their organization, building or is planning to build IT-enabled products or services.

Statistics for Business (5 weeks)

The course will begin in July 2015 and will be an introductory course to statistics and will examine data from the perspective of business scenarios and will demonstrate how to apply that data to make better decisions. It will be Part 1 of a 4-part series on Business Statistics, and would be ideal for learners who wish to enroll in business programs.

Statistics for Business – II (6 weeks)

This will be a course to examine data drawn from allied fields of business such as Finance and HR, and will teach how to simulate data to follow a specified distribution.

Introduction to Operations Management (7 weeks)

The course will begin in August 2015 and will teach key aspects of business operations and lean management, including capacity, productivity, quality, and supply chain and will be taught by B. Mahadevan.

Students who register for these courses will have complete access to all course materials, tests and the online discussion forum for free if they pursue an honor code. They will also have the option of pursuing a Verified Certificate of Achievement for a fee of about Rs 1,500.

InfoEdge Invests 25 crores In Online-Learning Service Meritnation

InfoEdge has informed investors that it has invested an additional Rs 25 crore in Applect Learning Systems which operates Meritnation.

Meritnation

Meritnation is a service that specialises in offering kindergarten to Class 12(K-12) assessment based learning programs via the web.

The investment has been made through optionally convertible cumulative redeemable preference shares, informed InfoEdge in a release.

In all, InfoEdge has increased its investment to about Rs 97 crore (approx $15mn) in Applect Learning Systems and has upped its stake from the 55.81% it controlled at the end of 2013.

Toppr acquires EasyPrep to make exam preparation accessible and affordable

EasyPrepThe online test preparation platform, Toppr, has acquired EasyPrep, an online platform to help students prepare for entrance exams.
With this acquisition, Toppr aims at making test preparation more accessible and affordable for all.

“We felt that Toppr.com was heading in exactly the right direction which we would have liked to achieve and joining forces with them enhances our capacity to serve more students,” says Ankit Saraswat, Co-Founder, EasyPrep.

EasyPrep, is a customized exam creation platform for schools, coaching institutes and teachers and an exam preparation platform for students. It provides an online/ offline platform for schools, coaching institutes and teachers to create exam papers for the their classroom teaching, for students assessment and for helping students prepare for competitive examinations.

EdTech Startup Purple Squirrel Raises Funds From Matrix And India Quotient

Media students at a radio station
Media students at a radio station
Purple Squirrel, a EdTech startup has raised an undisclosed amount from Matrix Partners India and India Quotient. The funds raised will be exclusively utilized for product and operation expansion.
“Our programs are fast gaining acceptance across major universities as an aid to classroom education to produce industry-ready graduates. This fund will majorly be used towards product and operation expansions”, says Aditya Gandhi, Co-Founder, Purple Squirrel Eduventures.
Started in 2013, Purple Squirrel Eduventures connects students with industry partners for field visits, workshops and hands on practical experiences.
 

Rockstand Adds CBSE eBooks To Its Inventory

rockstandAt a time when affordability of expensive career programs become a major deterrent to student’s preparation for various entrance exams, Rockstand, the free mobile app for eBooks, eMagazines and ePapers has announced the availability of ebooks from leading publishers like S.Chand & Co, Jiwan Publishing House (JPH Books), Full Marks, MBD Group, TERI Press, Lakshmi Publications, Har Anand and Jagran Josh to provide CBSE study material to students across the nation.
rockstand1
Observations by Rockstand reveal that Maths, Physics, Biology & English are most downloaded content while UP, Maharashtra & Delhi witness the maximum transactions and content download peaks during March.
With the intent of becoming a virtual knowledge marketplace, Rockstand has been steadily increasing its exam preparatory content library and claims to have over 30,000 academic, test preparation and entrance examination eBooks, live on the application. There is also a repository of reference materials for students of all age groups.

“Trends suggest the audience who are hooked most on this application are students. A 30%-40% upsurge witnessed in app downloads during major exams is a testimony to the fact that m-learning is gaining popularity and benefitting students.” – Mr. Praveen Rajpal, Founder, Rockstand.

Rockstand provides an array of eBooks focusing on various subjects such as; analytical skills, verbal competency and logical reasoning among many others.