Goa based women entrepreneurs launch wiZSkool, a web based school management ERP
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Rachana Nabar and Anuja Sardesai have been working professionals for more than a decade. Both of them hold a degree in Management and have a cumulative work experience of more than 20 years, working in India and abroad. Fate brought them to Goa where they were working as project managers together. The duo got along well and found synergies in what they wanted to do in life. One of the biggest area they wanted to make a difference in was education. “While at Virginia Tech, I had experienced the difference technology can make to education. We rarely see this in India,” says Rachana. They had begun with the thought of using technology to improve education.
The duo quit their jobs and as a first step, started AllianZ Resources in 2013- an all women enterprise with key service offerings including Web Design and Development, Software Development and Graphic Animation. Starting out with services, the bigger goal was always to enter into the products space. AllianZ in German means ‘A relationship based on an affinity in interests, nature, or qualities’. “Our goal with AllianZ Resources is to bring together like minded people with similar interests, goals and expectations together to achieve a larger goal,” says Rachana.
Connecting with the meaning and easy availability of the .com domain meant that it was an obvious choice for the domain name and they went ahead with allianZ-resources.com. As allianZ-resources is targeting a global market, .com made perfect sense.
They onboarded a technology partner to enhance their capabilities and started work on building wiZSkool, a web-based school management ERP software.
“With wiZSkool, we aim at changing the conventional way of education and school management. We will be bringing all activities performed by stakeholders of any school like students, school administration, teachers and parents under one platform,” says Rachana. They got associated with CIBA in Goa and the software ‘wiZSkool’ was launched on 7th July 2014 with a pilot in the Happy Hearts Montessori. “We feel that with this software, all stakeholders will be able to share the joy of education with much more ease and comfort by optimally utilizing the power of information technology,” says Rachana. wiZSkool has modules like Admissions, Fees, Exams, Grades etc- it is a platform that allows schools to perform their mundane tasks quickly and lets them connect to its stakeholders, specifically the parents. For Instance, consider a Gen-X parent, who works in an office far from home, who travels and who would like to be updated with all the activities the child does in the school. But unfortunately, gets information only on an open-day or in a rather rarely occurring chaotic parents meeting. This is where wiZSkool steps in. “We emphasize on the power of on-time and real-time communication with wiZSkool,” says Rachana.
WiZSkool is currently conducting a pilot and is in very early stages. The duo have a difficult journey in front of them as selling to schools can be a tough task involving long sales cycles and high resistance to adoption. They share a similar story for most of the schools they’ve been to- the younger teachers are ready to change but the older ones don’t want to adapt. The management shows excitement when pitched but takes a long time to take a decision and even longer to execute.
Considering the situation, Rachana and Anuja are also considering grants as a means of raising funding because they don’t see it completely as a profit making business. “We are not building the product to take technology only to the affluent. We want this to be a more grass root solution where even smaller schools can use it,” says Rachana. Their intention is to keep iterating the product and come out with new releases, trying to provide the maximum value they can. There are many other startups in the area who are trying out to build efficient school ERPs but we’re yet to see anyone make deep inroads across the country (see Foradian, Teemac, HarnessTouch). Still in a very nascent stage, it’ll be interesting to see how these women take the product forward from a market like Goa.