Founded in 2012, the startup provides trained teachers to schools in India’s small towns to teach students with digital curriculum
Students of Chhapra, Bihar are now adopting the digital medium to study to get enrolled in good colleges, all thanks to a Delhi-based startup called Avanti Learning Centres.
Founded in 2012 by two IIT Bombay Alumni Akshay Saxena and Krishna Ramkumar, the learning institute uses technology and learning models to teach science and math to students from Class 8 to 12th.
“We started largely by doing charitable work in government schools. We started at the bottom of the pyramid helping kids studying in government schools get into good colleges,” said Saxena.
The company now provides trained teachers in places such as Chhapra to teach students with digital curriculum. It charges schools an annual fee to train their students.
The company started by tapping the bottom of the rung pyramid which the founder calls it as ‘Rupee Economy’.
As soon as Avanti started uploading its videos online on platforms such as YouTube, low-income kids started showing a willingness to pay for it.
“When you look at the customer in India, there are many kinds. The country is divided into dollar economy and rupee economy. So the kids who occupy the dollar economy I would say are similar to Silicon Valley or American kids. They have access to the internet, and have a lot of distractions,” said Saxena.
The social venture has raised a total funding of about USD 6.41 million from major investors such as Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, Pearson Affordable Learning Fund, and Asha Impact.
In FY 17-18 the company plans to touch a revenue of close to Rs 9 crores from the online unit and offline centres.
While talking about the technology disruption in the education sector in the country and its impact on the traditional model, Saxena said that traditional models are limited in their own rights, in terms of accommodating an ever-increasing number of students in India who have high aspirations.
He added, “It’s a combination of education and entertainment for them. So in this segment that works really good is a product like Chu Chu TV, videos on Youtube.
“Several companies are making really entertaining education videos. I think which will work very well because that’s the need. The need there is to be engaged with the educational content,” says Saxena who is also Director of Avanti Learning Centers.
Avanti is not alone in this segment.
It has rivals such as Embibe help students to get coaching for various entrance examinations like JEE, AIIMS, and CET. Mumbai-based Toppr helps in training students for IIT JEE, pre-medical and foundation courses. CareerGuide helps students in solving career related queries.
The Edtech market in India at present stands at USD 300 million and is expected to grow to over USD 1.96 billion by 2021, as per a KPMG study.
“There is hyper insecurity, lots of stress and a parent is looking for someone to hand hold the child which what the tuition industry is based on,” Saxena said.
On regulations in the education sector, Saxena added, “You have a highly regulated education industry which is not innovating. But then we have an unregulated industry which is coaching. They are innovating and the reason they are making money is that they deliver quality.”