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Jun 09, 2012, 01.44 PM IST
CarveNiche Technologies, founded by Avneet Makkar and Saraswathy A, is an education technology company that provides holistic learning solutions on a cloud based platform.
CarveNiche Technologies, founded by Avneet Makkar and Saraswathy A, is an education technology company that provides holistic learning solutions on a cloud based platform. CarveNiche focuses on providing software to help teachers improve their engagement with students in a traditional classroom.
Currently CarveNiche offers its e-learning services across 200 schools in India and is now looking at going international.
According to a recent CLSA report, the kindergarten to grade 12 segment in India is estimated to be a USD 20 billion opportunity. Of this, the market for technology and content is pegged at USD 1.2 billion and is expected to grow at 80% compounded annual growth rate for the next several years.
Betting on this opportunity is the duo of Avneet Makkar and Saraswathy. Both former Infosys’ engineers founded CarveNiche Technologies in 2010. An education technology company, CarveNiche’s flagship product Wisdom Leap is a holistic learning solution on a cloud based platform. Currently offering its e-learning services across 200 schools in India, CarveNiche aims to reach out to 500 schools by next year.
Makkar: The product that we have addresses everything to do with learning, whether it is the content which is shown to the students which follows the curriculum, whether it is the latest software which helps them track the students’ grades and assessments. We also use the power of technology to make assessments more meaningful.
We believe that evaluation is a key part of teaching, so once you teach them well, you need to assess where they are and you need to assess them holistically. That is what our product does, which we believe is not there in any other product in the market.
We use various mediums to reach out to the students. So people who have access to better quality of broadband, they can access our product on cloud which gives them access in the classrooms, which gives them access from home.
For smaller kids we have also up with tablets because they find it very comfortable to user smaller device rather than a big computer. For schools which do not have any access, we even do local setups for them so their teachers are able to use it effectively in the classrooms.
CarveNiche has devised a unique revenue model where schools pay per classroom per student fee depending on the product or service used. But for tablets, CarveNiche charges an upfront fee. While a compelling proposition to build the smart class, getting schools to buy in required an innovative pitch.
Saraswathy: Let me start with customers. With customers, they say that we are the tech guys and that we will not understand what happens in the classroom. So one clear way to address that was to speak their language, which was about pedagogy. We had to blend technology with pedagogy and present it to them, and the schools run by academicians saw that value.
Of course we had to get the best talent, and that was by trial and error. We had global exposure, I had worked in the US and Avneet had worked in UK, so we had certain mentors and friends abroad through which we got some contacts.
We got some good talent who are excellent in pedagogy instructional design. We got them to create the initial design. We got the multimedia stuff designed here because India has got excellent animation guys. Now the challenge is all about the proof of scale, which how are we going to reach out Pan India.
To scale up, CarveNiche recently secured angel funding of a crore from Mumbai Angels. This, the duo claims, will be utilized to sales and marketing and to further strengthen its technology platform. In expansion mode, the venture is also looking to raise another Rs 10 crore by the end of the year.
Makkar: The education market in India is huge. As Indians always prefer spending more on education, the number of schools around us is growing everyday. So we believe the potential for products like ours is huge.
Currently if you look at it just 10% of the market would have been tapped by competitors, 90% of the market is still available. There are lot of schools which are coming up in smaller towns and cities of India which also want to adopt technology. With broadband in the future becoming cheaper, and 3G and 4G services reaching different parts of India, we believe adoption is just going to rise and that is why we are coming up with certain other technologies like tablets through which we want to reach a larger mass.
Not just India, Avneet and Saraswathy have also set their eyes on emerging markets with plans to reach out to Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore and the African continent through their online product. The CarveNiche team is putting in a lot of time and money on online advertising to sell its products in international markets.
But for now, the focus is on growing the domestic market and push revenues from Rs 2 crore this year to Rs 20 crore by 2015.
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