Prominent public and private institutions have gone on record to state that India’s education sector leaves a lot to be desired. Recommendations include improving the quality of teachers, investing in infrastructure and revamping the mode of delivering content through technological interventions wherever feasible.
Education is close to Indians’ hearts. It literally cuts across every strata of Indian society.
If India wants to harness its demographic dividend effectively amidst a modern business environment that requires giving more weightage to critical thinking and self-learning skills, it is prudent to say that the ed-tech ecosystem in India has its task cut out, because of the volume of K-12 based students in India. While it is known that no two children can be taught in the same way, we didn’t have the means to walk the talk before.
Now we do. Imagine a personal A.I tutor for each and every child, which is some way of reaching the market in terms of scale, but is the best way to improve learning outcomes for each and every child. Several ed-tech products have been released in the market according to multiple student segments and subject disciplines.
CarveNiche Technologies’ mathematics focussed product, beGalileo is India’s largest personalized after school math learning program. The product, whilst making waves among parents and teachers alike, is focused on helping students delve deeper into mathematical concepts. Below are the excerpts from our interaction.
Give a brief info about your startup?
CarveNiche Technologies Pvt Ltd, is an innovative ed-tech start-up that has developed advanced Ed-Tech products such as beGalileo (India’s largest personalized after school math learning program for K-12 education), Wisdom Leap (free online source for K-12 education) and Concept Tutors (personalized 1:1 tutoring focussed on the international market). The team is a mix of highly experienced technologists, academicians, curriculum designers and child psychologists. Our flagship product — ‘beGalileo’ is an after school Math learning program, which helps children learn Maths in an easy and fun manner. We currently have over 750 ‘beGalileo’ centers pan India, operating majorly across Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune & Delhi.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
In the majority of schools and classrooms, students are mainly being assessed on lower-level thinking skills such as memorisation and recall. As per research, 65% of students will be employed in jobs that don’t exist yet. This means we need to engage our children in higher-order thinking skills which would be critical to their future success. Before starting CarveNiche, I have worked in the IT industry for over a decade. Throughout my career, the biggest challenge was getting the right people in the team. We often found that students coming from the best colleges across the country also lacked the critical thinking, reasoning and self-learning skills and inspite of having big teams we were constantly relying on a very small percentage of people to deliver the results. And I realised that to fix that you need to work with children when they are at school where they spend 15 solid formative years. And when I started exploring learning material for my daughter, I realised that most stuff out there looked the same as probably I had used when I was in school. So, that’s when I thought of launching ed-tech products which focus on building conceptual understanding, application and above all, thinking, reasoning and questioning skills
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
Prior to founding CarveNiche Technologies, I have worked in the IT industry for over 13 years, my responsibilities included managing large multi-million dollar programs for marquee Fortune 500 customers in Investment Banking & Finance, Education, Oil & Gas, and Utilities.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
Bangalore is our headquarters. Bangalore is undoubtedly the best place in India for a Start-Up to thrive today. Though our headquarters is in Bangalore, we have centers pan India.
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
As a Start-Up CEO, I have equipped my team with a work culture to thrive in. Everyone working with us shares the same passion towards education. Our passion to revolutionize the education industry, is what would keep me awake at night. It’s hard to be a leader. Its even harder to be a startup leader. In a startup, learning is a continuous process, one has to keep learning at every opportunity, everyday.
Who are your competitions and how are you better than them?
We have created our niche in the ed-tech space. Our company is the first to create a product using the latest technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) to teach a subject such as Maths. Our flagship brand, beGalileo recently became India’s first after school Math learning program to be available as a Windows App. There are many ed-tech players in the market, but we believe we are doing something completely different, not only in terms of product innovation but also in terms of value creation. Currently, we have over 750 women entrepreneurs situated with us, who are running their own centers . This shows we not only have developed a good product, but also have created value for women who are situated with us. Our renewal rates exceed 90% , which shows the value we provide to the students and parents.
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
Work-life balance is important. I make sure to give equal time to my family and work. I believe in leading by example, it is important for our children to see their parents chasing their dreams, in order for them to become future leaders.
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
We have raised funding from leading angel networks and prominent high net-worth individuals
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
I have done my engineering from NIT Warangal. However, most people assume me to have majored in Maths, since that’s the subject I’m most passionate about, the reality is that I have an engineering background and that is helping me build future ready products by blending education with tech.
What gets you excited about this company?
We believe in George Evan’s philosophy that-“Every student can learn, just not on the same day, or the same way.” Our flagship product — beGalileo helps children learn Maths in an easy and fun manner. The platform provides a personalized Math learning plan for each child, where the child can learn at his/her own pace. This is in sharp contrast to a “one-size fits all” approach executed in schools today. We already have 750 beGalileo centers pan India and are looking to expand at a rapid space, this is what is keeping us excited.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
My day starts with getting my daughter ready for school and then driving to office. I check my emails , attend meetings and do what is needed for the day before I head back home. Yes, weekends are a bit relaxing and give me more time to spend with my family.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
They say like-minded people work well together. Our team shares the same passion towards the education industry and is passionate towards building world class education products which would be instrumental to build the next generation of leaders. Most of my team members are experts in their respective fields and I have met them in the course of work & when we were in the process of building our ed-tech products.