From his first job as an office assistant to a co-founder of an ed-tech startup, Mobule, Syam S Pillai has come a long way. His product EduTab offers a standalone solution that runs in a tablet like an operating system connecting students and teacher via wireless network inside an interactive learning system.
Syam learnt everything on the job and is running his third venture now. Syam moved from his hometown Kummil to Cochin to work as an office assistant in Essar Group’s Fortune Online lottery. He says he got his first education in computers here. “The team was very young and helpful. They helped me study embedded lottery machine functionalities, software-hardware interactions, networking, and maintenance. That was the first time I got interested in software based solutions,” he recalls.
He also worked as a Business Development Executive in another organization where his job was to market internet marketing to businesses in Kerala. In 2006, he co-founded WAIRS Infotech. This was Syam’s first experience of working in the education market. While marketing their product ‘Language Lab’, a software-based language learning solution, he realized that educational products have a huge potential in India.
“Our software was implemented in more than 250 locations in India, Bangladesh, Algeria and Nigeria but I was forced to dissolve the company due to some personal and professional reasons.” After working for over four years on it, he started again and co-founded Dmitri Tech Solutions Pvt. Ltd, a web design and development outsourcing company. And beginning this year, Syam launched Mobule.
With a positive growth in the education startup space in India, Syam was attracted to this sector again. Penetration of tablet based learning, launch of Akash tablet and government initiatives in the education sector were motivating. “Just providing students with tablets is not going to be the solution. We must have a system to make proper use of these tablets. EduTab is a solution using the power of tablets to enable interactive learning experience,” he says, adding, “Finding the right team was a bit of a task but I finally met my co-founder Hiemanshu Sharma through Techie Tuesday.”
Some of their competitors include Radix, Harness Touch and divi Learning Solutions. Talking about EduTab’s competitive advantage, Syam says, “With localized content partners, we provide local language oriented platform, interface and content. We are flexible with the offering. Customers can purchase complete solution (hardware + software + content), they can bring their own device and use only our software solution. It can be used in Android, iOS and Windows based tablets. Affordability is another major advantage.”
Mobilizing educational institution is another way of selling their product. They are offering smart classroom solutions for schools, including interactive whiteboards, tablets for teachers and students, EduTab software, digital content and the web-based management software. The last revenue generating stream is the custom solutions way. This will be in engagements with partners, content publishers, tablet manufactures, institutions and corporate. They are offering EduTab customization, integration with their products or systems, learning platform migration, custom content development, and white labeled solutions.
They are planning to target K-12 markets first stage and enter the higher education and training sectors later. India is their primary market but Syam says they are planning to explore markets in Malaysia and Thailand.
“Our biggest role model in this sector is News Corporation owned Amplify. We see that their product is a huge success in the US market and it has already made a revolution using tablets in the US educational system. We want to repeat the same in Asia,” says Syam.